Lady Gaga, Marina de Tavira, Letitia Wright among Academy's newest diverse class

It's a notable turnaround for an organization that has sought to diversify its ranks following criticism for all-white acting nominees in 2015 and 2016.
Image: Singer and actress Lady Gaga arrives for the premiere of the film "A Star is Born"  during the 75th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido
Singer and actress Lady Gaga arrives for the premiere of the film "A Star is Born" during the 75th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido.Vincenzo Pinto / AFP/Getty Images file

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By The Associated Press

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has invited 842 members from 59 countries to the Oscars organization and, for the first time, reached gender parity in its new class of inductees.

Half of the new invitees to the film academy are women. In 10 of the 17 branches — including the directing, writing and producing branches — more women than men were invited. This year's class of new members also includes 29 percent people of color.

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That's a notable turnaround for an organization that has sought to diversity its ranks following criticism for all-white acting nominees in 2015 and 2016. Since 2015, the group's overall female membership has grown from 25 percent to 32 percent, the academy said. Overall membership of people of color has doubled, from 8 percent to 16 percent.

To aid in the swift overhaul of the academy, the group last year invited a record 928 members. While smaller, this year's class still ranks as one of the academy's largest in its 92-year history.

New invitees include Lady Gaga, Mexican actor and producer Héctor Bonilla and Marina De Tavira (one of the stars of "Roma"), Sterling K. Brown, Irene Escolar, Letitia Wright, Tom Holland and Adele. Newly invited directors include "Crazy Rich Asians" filmmaker Jon Chu, "The Babadook" director Jennifer Kent and the filmmaking duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

If most accept their invites, the film academy will number more than 9,000 members.

Next year's Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 9, several weeks earlier than usual.

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Gwen Aviles contributed.