Tiffany Haddish, Kumail Nanjiani among 928 invited to join Oscars group

Kumail Nanjiani and Tiffany Haddish, who are among the 928 personalities invited to join the Oscars group.
Kumail Nanjiani and Tiffany Haddish, who are among the 928 personalities invited to join the Oscars group.PHOTO: REUTERS, EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The group that hands out the Oscars said on Monday (June 25) that it had invited 928 new members from 59 countries, in its biggest diversity drive after years of criticism of its mostly white and male membership.

Those invited include Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish; The Big Sick co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon; and comedian and actor Dave Chappelle, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement.

If all those invited accept, female membership would rise to 31 per cent from the current 28 percent, the group said. People of colour will increase to 16 per cent from 13 per cent.

Total membership would stand at more than 7,000 actors, writers, directors, executives and others.

A lack of diversity within the academy has long been cited as a barrier to racial inclusion in Hollywood's highest honours. In 2016, the Academy responded by pledging to double female and minority membership by 2020.