It’s become a tradition every year when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences invites its new members that we pour through the list of stars and Hollywood legends and look in amazement at how many big names were somehow not already part of the Oscars club.
This year, the Academy invited 819 new members, including a 2020 class that’s 45% women, 36% underrepresented ethnic/racial communities and 49% international from 68 countries.
The diversity is always welcome, and the Academy has done loads in recent years to attempt to diversify its ranks. In fact, we count 10 different actors and below-the-line crew members involved with the Best Picture winner “Parasite” joining the Academy this year. And other emerging stars like Awkwafina, Zendaya, Zazie Beetz, Brian Tyree Henry, Cynthia Erivo and more are all among those who will vote on the upcoming Oscars.
But then there are those that haven’t been kicking around the industry for years and are only now getting their due? Olivia Wilde just made her debut film with “Booksmart” last year, but her invitation just now certainly caught us off guard. Then there’s Natasha Lyonne, a mainstay of the Emmys with shows like “Orange is the New Black” and “Russian Doll” who is only popping up on the movie stage now after appearing in last year’s “Honey Boy” and this year’s “Irresistible.” And it took a scene-stealing moment in “The Irishman” for Bobby Cannavale to get his invite.
And that’s just actors. Elton John has already been a member, but Bernie Taupin is only joining now? Also in the music branch, U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. got an invite, as did buzzy rock and indie artists like Bryce Dessner of The National and Devonté “Blood Orange” Hynes.
In the directing branch, newcomers like Ari Aster, Lulu Wang and Alma Har’el got invites, but then so did “Kick-Ass” and “Layer Cake” director Matthew Vaughn, “Planet of the Apes” and “The Batman” director Matt Reeves and “Still Alice” director Wash Westmoreland.
Take a look at some of the other surprising names that jumped out at us below.
Wait, they weren’t already members?:
Bobby Cannavale – “The Irishman,” “The Station Agent” (Actors)
Tyne Daly – “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Actors)
Eva Longoria – “Overboard,” “Harsh Times” (Actors)
Natasha Lyonne – “Honey Boy,” “American Pie” (Actors)
Olivia Wilde – “Meadowland,” “Rush” (Actors)
Constance Wu – “Hustlers,” “Crazy Rich Asians” (Actors)
Matt Reeves – “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Cloverfield” (Directors)
Matthew Vaughn – “Kick-Ass,” “Layer Cake” (Directors)
Wash Westmoreland – “Still Alice,” “Quinceañera” (Directors)
Larry Mullen Jr. – “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” “Man on the Train” (Music)
Bernie Taupin – “Rocketman,” “Brokeback Mountain” (Music)
Ryan Murphy – “A Secret Love,” “Running with Scissors” (Producers)