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Lena Dunham, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ava DuVernay, Prince and Milla Jovovich Among 276 Invited to Join Academy

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood June 28, 2013 at 3:50PM

It's hard to get into the Academy, but these days it helps to be young, gifted and black. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has extended invitations to 276 artists and executives to join the organization, rounding out its complete additions for 2013.
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Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay

It's always been hard to get into the Academy, but these days it helps to be young, gifted and black. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has extended invitations to 276 artists and executives to join the organization, 100 more than they invited last year. 

Of late, AMPAS has been anxious to improve the membership's dominant white male senior demo  by inviting a diverse and youthful slate of members, many of them women. Of course, the members reflect the industry of which they are the leaders, but the recent LAT study showing that Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male, with blacks comprising about 2% of the Academy, and Latinos at less than 2%, are disturbing indeed. According to the study, Oscar voters have a median age of 62, and folks younger than 50 make up 14% of members.

Among the invitees to the Academy's largest branch are actors Jason Bateman, Michael Pena, Lucy Liu, Rosario Dawson, Kimberly Elise, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, action star Milla Jovovich, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Schwartzman and on the senior side, last year's best actress nominee for "Amour," Parisian Emmanuelle Riva. 

Directors invited to join the Academy include "Middle of Nowhere" helmer Ava DuVernay, Catherine Hardwicke ("Twilight"), Steve McQueen ("Shame"), 2013 "Beasts of the Southern Wild" nominee Benh Zeitlin, controversial Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi and 2013 foreign-language nominee Pablo Larrain ("No"). The Academy also welcomed more documentary filmmakers than usual --42 over last year's 11--to join the small branch of 173 members, from French auteur Agnes Varda to Oscar-nominated "The Invisible War" producer Amy Ziering.

On the writers' side are invites to some of the strongest female voices in entertainment, including Lena Dunham, Sarah Polley and Julie Delpy. Rising star filmmakers Rian Johnson ("Looper") and Jeff Nichols ("Mud") also join the group.

The Academy usually adds a few new members to each branch; thus an array of cinematographers, editors, producers (Jason Blum of "Paranormal Activity" fame), designers, animators(TV's Matt Groening, "The Simpsons Movie"), composers (Prince), executives (new Warner studio chief Kevin Tsujihara) and other film craftspeople also got coveted invites in the mail. 

The complete list of prospective 2013 members is on the Academy website and below:

This article is related to: Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Academy Awards, Ava DuVernay, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emmanuelle Riva, Paul Feig, Awards, Academy Awards, Oscars


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.