The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their latest class of new members and there were some of the selections were major surprises.
A longstanding criticism of the Academy is that it's membership has skewed about as old as a typical retirement community in Miami Beach and with the longer life spans most Americans have these days once you're "in" you're in for quite a long time. So, this year the inclusion of a large number of under 40-year-old actors including Anne Hathaway, Emile Hirsch Seth Rogen, James Franco, Michael Cera, Taraji P. Henson, James McAvoy, Amy Ryan, Michelle Williams, Emily Blunt and Casey Affleck is quite astonishing. Some of those thespians aren't even 25 yet! For the Academy this is almost jaw-dropping.
Perhaps more intriguing is how many actors were invited this year with no nominations to their credit. Hugh Jackman, Paul Rudd, Rogen, Hirsch and Jane Lynch all have stellar resumes, but none have smelled the rose of an Oscar nod.
More distressing, however, is the continuing lack of minority representation amongst the Academy overall. Henson, Jeffrey Wright, Viola Davis, Tyler Perry (OK, he's made a ton of money for Lionsgate, but really?) and A.R. Rahman make up a very small pool of non-whites joining the process this year. No one will disagree that this is an overall problem for the industry, but that's it? No one else? out of 134 people? Depressing more than anything.