In a bid to diversify its membership, following the #OscarsSoWhite outburst from 2017; the Oscar Academy has invited 842 new members to become voters for the prestigious awards. Among the 842 are three individuals of Nigerian descent — the iconic Tunde Kelani for Directing, the talented Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje for Acting and the fast-rising Chinonye Chukwu for Writing.
Tunde Kelani: is one of Nigeria’s most acclaimed movie directors, known for classics like “Thunderbolt: Magun”, “Saworoide”, “Agogo Eewo”, and “Dazzling Mirage”. He is currently working on the film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s award-winning novel, “The Lion and the Jewel”.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: is a British-Nigerian actor, who has been on a steady rise, standing out in films and TV shows like “The Bourne Identity”, “Thor: The Dark World”, “Suicide Squad” and “Game of Thrones”. Last year, he made his directorial debut at Toronto International Film Festival with his auto-biography – “Farming”.
Chinonye Chukwu: is a Nigerian-American filmmaker, and the first black woman to win the Sundance Film Festival’s biggest prize for her movie – “Clemency”. She is set to direct the film adaptation of former Black Panther Party chairwoman, Elaine Brown’s memoir, “A Taste of Power”.
In 2018, 928 new individuals from 59 different countries were invited – 49% being women and 38% being people of colour — including two Nigerians, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Femi Odugemi.
For 2019, the 842 new members are split in the ratio of 50% women and 29% being people of colour, raising the percentage of women in the Academy from 31% to 32%, while the percentage of people of colour remains at 16%.