Academy Invites New Korean Members, Including Bong Joon-ho and Choi Min-sik


by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited a record number of 322 individuals, with its list reflecting the Oscar-granting organization’s initiative to reel in more diversity.

Among this year’s invitees are two notable directors of Korean descent: Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho and Im Kwon-taek, a renowned South Korean auteur who has directed over 100 films and won several awards at international film festivals.

South Korean veteran actors Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) and Song Kang-ho (Snowpiercer) were also invited to the join the Academy roster. Choi made his Hollywood debut last summer with the sci-fi action flick Lucy, starring opposite Scarlett Johansson.

Other filmmakers of Korean descent to be tapped by the Academy included Gina Kwon—producer of Camp X-ray and Miranda July’s Me and You and Everything We Know—and Big Hero 6 character designer Jin Kim.

Recent Oscar winners also received invitations to join the Academy. The list includes song-writing duo John Legend and Common (Selma), screenwriter Graham Moore (The Imitation Game), Argentine screenwriters Nicolás Giacobone and Armando Bo (both of Birdman) and half-Vietnamese film editor Tom Cross (Whiplash), who was the only Asian to win an Oscar last year.

whiplash tom crossTom Cross, editor of Whiplash. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Last February, the Academy was heavily criticized when all 20 Oscar acting nominees were of Caucasian descent, despite the fact that director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo of Selma were strong contenders. As a result, the 87th Academy Awards ceremony was dubbed by the media as the “whitest Oscars since 1998” and spawned the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

Hollywood has been under fire for its underrepresentation of women and people of color in recent years. In 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that nearly 94 percent of Oscar voters were Caucasian and 77 percent male. Blacks made up about 2 percent of the Academy, and Latinos comprised even less than that. No numbers for Asians or Native Americans were reported.

Individuals can become eligible for Academy membership by earning an Oscar nomination, having two Academy members pen recommendations or receiving endorsement from an academy membership committee.

To view the complete list of this year’s Academy invitees, click here.

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