It looks like people are starting to take action after those Black Instagram squares after all.
After years of us declaring #OscarsSoWhite, The Academy announced it has invited several hundred new members into the voting fold on Tuesday, which included a diverse cast of characters from all sectors of the industry, from acting to publicity to costume design.
Niecy Nash, Eva Longoria, Zendaya, Cynthia Erivo, Zazie Beetz, Brian Tyree Henry and John David Washington are among the new class of celebrity invitees — out of 819 invites total — which is represented by 36% people of color, 45% women and 49% based outside of the U.S. Industry players include CAA agent Talitha Watkins, directors Matthew A. Cherry and Victoria Mahoney, costume designer Danielle Hollowell, producer Mimi Valdes, publicist Staci R. Collins Jackson and more.
While still predominantly White and male, a 2018 study found that the new additions did increase diversity, with people of color making up 16% of members in 2018, up from 8% in 2015.
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Academy President David Rubin said, “The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences. We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now.”
Though there is much more work to be done, this is a step in the right direction. The Academy has also announced a new five-year plan that includes implementing inclusion standards for nominees.
The 93rd Academy Awards are set to take place on 25 April 2021 — two months later than originally planned — after getting derailed due to COVID-19.