Entertainment

Emerald Fennell, Maria Bakalova and Steven Yeun among stars invited into Academy

The body which oversees the Oscars said diversity was a key goal.

Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell, Borat 2 actress Maria Bakalova and Minari actor Steven Yeun are among the stars who have been invited to join the Academy.

The body which oversees the Oscars said it had invited 395 artists and executives for this year’s intake, with diversity and representation a key goal.

The 2021 class is 46% women, 39% under-represented racial communities and 53% international from 49 countries outside the US, according to the Academy.

Kingsley Ben-Adir
Kingsley Ben-Adir has been invited to join the Academy, the body which oversees the Oscars (Ian West/ PA)

It includes 35-year-old Fennell, the British writer and director of black comedy Promising Young Woman, which won her the Oscar for best original screenplay.

She has been invited to join both the writers and directors branch and must choose between the two.

Bulgarian actress Bakalova, the acclaimed star of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, has been invited to join the actors branch alongside Yeun and his Minari co-star Yuh-Jung Youn.

Other actors asked to join the more than 10,000-strong Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences include One Night In Miami’s Kingsley Ben-Adir and Leslie Odom Jr, Paddington’s Hugh Bonneville, transgender actress Laverne Cox, Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding, Oscar nominee Vanessa Kirby, Insecure creator Issa Rae and Batman star Robert Pattinson.

Directors invited include The Father’s Florian Zeller, Minari’s Lee Isaac Chung and Nia DaCosta, the maker of upcoming horror film Candyman.

The number of invitees this year has been cut by more than half compared to 12 months ago, when 819 industry figures were asked to join.

The Academy said that was “to enable steady future growth and to ensure the necessary infrastructure, staff resources and environment to support all Academy members”.

The organisation has been on a recruiting drive in order to diversify its ranks following a series of controversies over a lack of nominees and winners of colour in recent years.

April’s Oscars included historic wins for Chloe Zhao as the first woman of colour to take home best director and Youn as the first Korean acting winner.

The 94th Academy Awards are set to take place on February 27, 2022.

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