J.K. Rowling Invited to Become a Voting Member of the Academy Awards
Rowling only wrote her first screenplay in 2016 with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but two years later, she has been granted the honor of an invitation to become a voting member of the Writers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!
If accepted, Rowling will be able to vote to nominate films for the Academy Awards within the writing field: Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay. Once the nominees are announced members are then able to vote across all of the awards.
Rowling has been invited alongside 927 other members, a record number of invitations, in a substantive effort to make the voting body more diverse. The Academy Awards has suffered in the past from accusations of lacking women and people of color in both their voting body and in their awards nominations.
Back in January 2016, the Academy made a pledge to double the number of women and people of color in the voting body by 2020. The push for increased diversity within the body of members should ensure that more people’s work is properly recognized. It is hoped that this will have the secondary effect of breaking down the barriers that often stop minorities from entering and finding success in the film industry.
If all invitees accept the offer, this will bring the percentage of female members to 31% and people of color to 16%, with new members from over 50 different countries.
Membership is not easy to come by. Applicants must be sponsored by two existing members of the branch they’ll be invited to join to be considered. As a writer, Rowling must have “demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of theatrical motion pictures” and have at least two feature film credits as well, which are noted as her screenplays for Fantastic Beasts and her role as the creator of Harry Potter.
J.K. Rowling isn’t the only Potter nominee in the 2018 class. Joining her is Toby Jones, who provided the voice of Dobby in the Harry Potter movies, and Shirley Henderson, who played Moaning Myrtle. They have both been invited to join the Actors Branch. From Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Nigerian-born actress Wunmi Mosaku, who appears as Beryl, was also invited to join the Actors Branch, and designer Sue Quinn, who served as the supervising location manager for the film, was invited to join the Designers Branch.
You can check out the full list of the invitees here!
Do you think the Academy is doing enough to tackle the lack of diversity within the movie industry, or is it simply a small step on the way to real change? Let us know in the comments below.