Yousra And Amr Salama Among Those Invited To Join Oscars Academy

BY Delara Zand / Jul 4 2019 / 18:19 PM

This year's new additions hail from 59 countries

Yousra And Amr Salama Among Those Invited To Join Oscars Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released its annual list of new members who'll vote for next year's winners. The 842 new invitees span a record 59 countries of origin, with 50% of them women. Assuming those added this year accept the invitation (Woody Allen famously didn't), 32% of the Academy members will be female. 

The Motion Picture Academy has frequently faced criticism for its lack of diversity - remember the #OscarsSoWhite protest in 2015 and 2016? This led the organisers to promise double the number of female and non-white Academy members by 2020. And although there's still a very long way to go, the region is slowly gaining more representation.

2019's list included accomplished names in film from countries across the Middle East and North Africa. Egyptian icon Yousra, star of both TV and the silver screen since the '80s, has been invited in the 'Actors' category, alongside names like Gemma Chan, Alexander Skarsgård, Lady Gaga and Letitia Wright. 

Several prolific directors and producers will also be on board the new voting panel, including Sheikh Jackson's award-winning director Amr Salama, president of Cairo International Film Festival Mohamed Hefzy and Red Satin's Tunis-born director Raja Amari. 

Khadija Al-Salami, the pioneering director and producer behind films like I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced, which was Yemen's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 Oscars, will make history as the first Yemeni member of the Academy. 

Two documentary filmmakers made the list, namely Iranian director and president of the International Documentary Association Marjan Safinia, and Syrian filmmaker Talal Derki - whose remarkable documentary Of Fathers And Sons was nominated at this year's Oscars

The Academy is also recognising the extraordinary talents of those behind the lens; Christopher Aoun, Capernaum's cinematographer, is a now a member. Capernaum's director Nadine Labaki was among last year's invitees, alongisde the likes of The Mummy actress Sofia Boutella.