After last year’s trending backlash of #OscarsSoWhite, the Academy, intending to diversify its membership, invited 928 new people from 59 countries – 49% women and 38% people of color – including two Nigerian women, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Femi Odugemi. This year, however, 842 new members were invited to join the Academy – 50% women and 29% people of color. This brings the percentage of women to the Academy from 31% to 32%, while the percentage of people of color remains at 16% compared to last year.
Among the 842 new members invited to become Oscar-winning voters, three are of Nigerian descent, including the iconic Tunde Kelani, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Chinonye Chukwu.
Tunde Kelani is one of Nigeria’s most acclaimed directors, known for classics like Thunderbolt: Magun, Saworoide, Agogo Eewo, and Dazzling Mirage. He’s currently working on the film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s award-winning novel, The Lion and the Jewel.
British-Nigerian actor, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje 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 TIFF with the auto-biographical Farming.
This year, Nigerian-American filmmaker, Chinonye Chukwu, became the first black woman to win the Sundance Film Festival’s biggest prize for her movie, Clemency. She’s also set to direct the film adaptation of former Black Panther Party chairwoman, Elaine Brown’s memoir, A Taste of Power.
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