The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Monday a record-breaking number of new member invitees that puts the organization on track to reach its 2016 goals of doubling the number of non-white and female members.
Some of the 928 invitees were quite curious, either because it was surprising they weren’t already members — or that the Academy would even think to induct them.
Consider French-born filmmaker Michel Gondry, who won an Oscar for co-writing his 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” but somehow never snagged an invite from the Academy until now.
Or Jonathan Nolan, who earned a nomination with his brother Christopher for 2000’s “Memento,” but has been passed over all these years despite his acclaimed scripts for “The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Interstellar.”
Then there’s “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling. Sure, the author inspired an entire generation of kids to read rather than head to the cinema — but she only has one produced screenplay to her credit, 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” (A sequel, “The Crimes of Grindewald,” is due in November.)
Still, Rowling has been crucial to the “Harry Potter” franchise, which has racked up 14 Oscar nominations and $7 billion in worldwide box office since the first one was released in 2001.
If those invitations seemed a long time coming, then rapper Kendrick Lamar nabbing one seemed out of the blue.
Lamar is an objectively outstanding artist who has won nearly every important music award there is. He even won a Pulitzer Prize for his album “DAMN.” but his Hollywood résumé is thin aside from his recent work on the “Black Panther” soundtrack.
The same is true of members of Prince’s band, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, who scored membership for their work on such Oscar-bait films as “Just Wright” and “Valentino’s Ghost.”
Performers like “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke, former “Closer” actress Kyra Sedwick and Gina Rodriguez are more associated with their work on TV, while comedic performers like Hannibal Buress (“Tag”) and Dave Chappelle (“Robin Hood: Men in Tights”) have mostly performed in broad big-screen comedies that don’t typically earn Academy recognition.
The 2018 list of invitees is a sign that the Academy is opening its doors a bit wider as it continues to diversify its ranks.
Wait, they weren’t already members?:
Eileen Atkins (“Gosford Park”) — Actors branch
Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) — Actors branch
Melissa Etheridge (Oscar winner for “An Inconvenient Truth”) — Music branch
Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) — Directors Branch
Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Oscar nominee for “Amelie”) — Director’s branch
Toby Jones (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) — Actors branch
Jonathan Nolan (“Memento”) — Writers branch
Eduardo Noriega (“Open Your Eyes”) — Actors branch
Jada Pinkett Smith (“Menace II Society”) — Actors branch
Joely Richardson (“The Patriot”) — Actors branch
Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”) — Actors branch
Miles Teller (“Whiplash”) — Actors branch
Hannibal Buress (“Tag”) — Actors branch
Dave Chappelle (“Robin Hood: Men in Tights”) — Actors branch
Emilia Clarke (“Me Before You”) — Actors branch
Lisa Coleman (“Dangerous Minds”) — Music branch
Lena Headey (“The Purge”) — Actors branch
Kendrick Lamar (“Black Panther”) — Music branch
Wendy Melvoin (“Soul Food”) — Music branch
Gina Rodriguez (“Deepwater Horizon”) — Actors branch
J.K. Rowling (“Fantastic Beasts”) — Writers branch
Kyra Sedgwick (“Something to Talk About”) — Actors branch
Yeardley Smith (“The Simpsons Movie”) — Actors branch