Singaporean actor Chin Han and documentary filmmaker Tan Pin Pin were among some of the movie film personalities recently invited by Hollywood's Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences to become members, as part of its drive for diversity.
The Oscar-giving body has also extended its membership to other notable Asians, including Hong Kong's Andy Lau, Taiwan's Sylvia Chang, and India's Shah Rukh Khan and Anil Kapoor.
Tan Pin Pin, the award-winning documentary maker of To Singapore, With Love, expressed in a Facebook post that she was "honoured to be in such good company", and praised the academy for "striving to be more diverse, in the widest sense, after years of campaigning".
The Singapore-born and US-based Chin Han, who has Hollywood movies under his belt the likes of the recent Skyscraper, welcomes the recognition and took to Instagram to show his appreciation.
In 2016, the academy had pledged to double the number of female and minority numbers by 2020. At that time, only a quarter of its members was female and 8 per cent were non-white, Associated Press (AP) reported.
And the Oscar-granting organisation is making good on that promise this year by sending out 928 invitations to 59 countries - higher than the 774 invitations sent out in 2017, according to hollywoodreporter.com.
Forty-nine per cent of the invitees are female, and 38 per cent are of people of colour. Should all the invitees accept, the new class would consist of 31 per cent women and 16 per cent persons of colour, according to AP.
PUSH FOR DIVERSITY
The list included more people of colour, such as Tiffany Haddish, Kumail Nanjiani, Gina Rodriguez and Jada Pinkett-Smith, who had called for a boycott of the 2016 Oscars over the lack of diversity.
Haddish, in response to the news, joked in a video, saying: "That super cool. So I get to vote? I'm going to get movies for free?", reported AP on Jun 26.
CRITERIA FOR INVITATION
There are 17 branches that the academy recognises and each branch draws its own list of invitees. Candidates must be sponsored by two branch members and must also demonstrate "exceptional achievement in the field of theatrical motion pictures", according to hollywoodreporter.com.
However, each branch has it own requirements; for instance, directors much have a minimum of two helming credits. Academy Awards nominees are automatically considered for membership, although an invite is not guaranteed.
The invitees range from both ends of the age spectrum. The youngest is 14-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, who was nominated for her role in Beasts Of The Southern Wild's. Composer Sofia Gubaidulina, at 86, is the oldest, according to hollywoodreporter.com.
With 168 invitees, the actors branch alone has the longest list. Among them are 17 Oscar winners and 92 nominees, including Timothee Chalamet, the 22-year-old star of Call Me By Your Name, and Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out.
Both newcomers and veteran performers are included on the invitee list. Recognisable names, such as Taron Egerton of Kingsman: The Secret Service, Tiffany Haddish of Girls Trip, and Daisy Ridley of Star Wars: The Force Awakens are listed alongside Jennifer Grey, who made her mark in 1987's Dirty Dancing, and Emmy-winning Ann Dowd from The Handmaid's Tale.
Names more familiar on TV are also included here, such as Christine Baranski in The Good Wife and Randall Park in Fresh Off The Boat.
NOT JUST ACTORS
Those from the comedic circle aren't left out either. Invitations were sent to names such as Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman, according to AP. The Simpsons stars, such as Julie Kavner, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer and Yardley Smith, are invited as well.
Representatives from the music industry are also included, counting Kendrick Lamar, Melissa Etheridge and Sufjan Stevens.
According to AP, 10 invitees are given the option to affiliate themselves with one branch from the multiple branches they are given. Nanjiani, who writes and stars in the Emmy-nominated Silicon Valley for instance, has been offered writing and acting; and The Florida Project's director Sean Baker for directing and writing.