Dear Gossips,

As mentioned yesterday in What Else? the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Oscar Academy, released its new list of 774 members, a new record. After the nominations were announced in 2015, it was April Reign who created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. The hashtag came back a year later in 2016 when no actors of colour were represented in any of the acting categories, prompting all kinds of backlash and criticism and completely taking over the Oscar conversation. Which compelled the Academy to focus on diversity. Of the 774 new members this year, 39% are female and 30% are people of colour. Here’s how April Reign reacted to the announcement in a statement to the LA Times:

"I am encouraged by this year's class of invites. The opening of the academy to those who may not have been previously nominated or winners but are clearly deserving based on their body of work in film is gratifying. There are names on the list that many may feel should’ve been on the list before. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs pledged to double the number of people of color and women by 2020. With this new and largest class ever, she is one step forward. I hope that the new incoming president continues what she has started and that we see an even more diverse class next year.

Lastly, even with the 2017 Oscar wins and new Academy invitee class, #OscarsSoWhite is still just as relevant today as it was when it began in 2015. So, I will continue to push for more inclusion in entertainment, both of actors and actresses as well as those behind the camera, on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, ability, race and age. The American public, as moviegoers, deserve to be able to see themselves on the screen, not just during awards season but throughout the year."

There are names on the list that many may feel should’ve been on the list before.

Yes, exactly. Because while it should be acknowledged that the Academy is moving forward, there are still members of the old guard who have some feelings about the fact that the Academy is growing too quickly. As Vanity Fair reports

But opening its doors wider has led some to criticize the Academy for abandoning its traditionally high standards of entrance.

Betty White just got into the Academy this year! She’s 91 years old! Sometimes “tradition” is just code for “exclusion”. To take it a step further, oftentimes “tradition” is code for “discrimination”. Everybody knows that there have always been fewer opportunities for people of colour and women and the differently abled and basically people who aren’t white and men and straight in the industry. With those lack of opportunities, what are the chances that they can meet those “high standards” if even Betty White had to wait 50 f-cking years! Tony Leung was named Best Actor in Cannes for In The Mood For Love (considered by many to be one of the best films of the 2000s) back in 2000. And he was only just invited to the Oscar Academy THIS YEAR! Emile Hirsch was a member of the Oscar Academy before Betty White and Tony Leung… WHAT THE F-CK?!?

Click here to see a full list of the new Oscar members.

Attached – Tony Leung and Carina Lau (also a new member of the Academy) in Shanghai in April.

Yours in gossip,