Nollywood veteran actor Richard Mofe-Damijo, filmmakers Kunle Afolayan, Jade Osiberu, CJ Obasi and screenwriter Shola Dada have been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organisation that awards the Oscars.
The invitation to a total of 398 people was announced by the award-dispensing group on Wednesday.
Mofe-Damijo, popularly known as RMD, was invited in the actors category.
Afolayan, whose Anikulapo was rejected by the Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) last year, was invited in the writers category, while Osiberu and Obasi were invited in the producers and directors categories respectively.
Dada, who wrote Afolayan’s Roti and Anikulapo, was also invited in the writers category.
The five Nigerians will join compatriots Newton Aduaka, Tunde Kelani, Funke Akindele, Daniel K. Daniel, Blessing Egbe, Ramsey Nouah, Mo Abudu, Andrew Dosunmu, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Femi Odugbemi, Akin Omotoso and Genevieve Nnaji as Oscars voting members.
Others are diasporan Chinonye Chukwu, Wunmi Mosaku, Ngozi Onwurah, Cynthia Erivo and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
The Academy said 40% of the new members identified as women, 34% belonged to underrepresented ethnic or racial communities and 52% are from 50 countries and territories outside the United States.
“Membership selection is based on professional qualifications, with an ongoing commitment to representation, inclusion and equity,” the Academy said.
There are 22 Oscar winners and 76 nominees among the 398 artists invited.
“The Academy is proud to welcome these artists and professionals into our membership. They represent extraordinary global talent across cinematic disciplines, and have made a vital impact on the arts and sciences of motion pictures and on movie fans worldwide,” Academy CEO Bill Kramer and president Janet Yang jointly said.
If all 398 invitees accept their bid to join the Academy, the organisation’s total number of voting members will reach 9,375 – 34% female, 18% non-white and 20% non-American.
The Academy has taken steps to diversify its membership since the #OscarsSoWhite outcry in 2015.
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