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The Academy Just Got A Lot Cooler Thanks To These Thrilling New Members

By Kristy Puchko | Celebrity | June 27, 2015 |

By Kristy Puchko | Celebrity | June 27, 2015 |

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is an organization dominated by old white dudes. That’s just a fact. But every year, they invite a slew of new members, so every year we have a bit of hope that the Oscars will be less deadly dull and predictable thanks to an infusion of young blood.

This year, there’s a great group of actors, directors and cinematographers being welcomed into the fold. Here’s a few of the members we’re most psyched about:

Emma Stone
So hot she’s been retired from the Pajiba 10 running, Stone likely found her way into the Academy thanks to her Oscar nod for Birdman.

Rosamund Pike
Another new member who won Academy notice at Oscars 2015, Pike blew the doors off as Gone Girl’s Amazing Amy. But she’s been a part of Oscar-nominated films for years, ranging from Pride and Prejudice to An Education and Barney’s Version.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw
This British beauty should have been in the Oscar conversation last year between her powerful performances in the historical drama Belle and the romantic drama Beyond the Lights. Here’s hoping her new spot as an Academy member means she’ll be less likely to be ignored the next time she wins damn-near universal critical acclaim.

David Oyelowo
In another case of insane Oscar snub, this breathtaking Brit did not earn a nomination for his performance in Selma as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But at least the Academy knows his name. And thanks to Brad Pitt, we know how to pronounce it.

Choi Min-sik
This South Korean actor became an icon with Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy. Since then, he’s terrorized our souls as a serial killer in I Saw The Devil (watch it, but not alone), and made Scarlett Johansson a drug-fueled superhero in Lucy. We’re not sure which of these finally got the Academy’s attention, but who cares?! His inclusion means one more member of the Academy will get the more boundary-pushing branches of cinema.

Dev Patel
Forget The Last Airbender. Remember Slumdog Millionaire.

Kevin Hart
Huh. This addition would have made more sense last year, when Hart was riding high with the critical acclaim of About Last Night and box office success of Ride Along. Now he’s coming off the critically loathed Get Hard and The Wedding Ringer. But…better late than never?

Elizabeth Banks
Listed as an “actor” because of her standout roles in The Hunger Games franchise, Banks is also an emerging director having helmed Pitch Perfect 2. Here’s hoping she brings some Capitol-level couture to the Oscar red carpet in 2016.

Bong Joon-ho
Snowpiercer may have been snubbed in every Oscar category it was for which it was eligible. But at least it urged the Academy to extend an invitation not just to its co-writer and director, but also to his recurring leading man Song Kang-ho (The Host, Memories of Murder).

Lynn Shelton
She came up in mumblecore with the hilarious Humpday and the heartfelt Your Sister’s Sister. But it appears the charming rom-com Laggies is what finally tipped Shelton into the Academy’s pool.

Malcolm D. Lee
Director of Best Man and Best Man Holiday, Lee is the king of feel-good comedy. We’re totally willing to forget Scary Movie 5 happened.

Niki Caro
This New Zealand helmer broke onto the scene in a big way with 2002’s Oscar-nominated Whale Rider. Next came the Charlize Theron-fronted Oscar-nominee North Country. But apparently it was the Kevin Costner-fronted sports drama McFarland, USA that made the bros of the Academy decide it was time for Caro to join their ranks.

F. Gary Gray
The New York City-born filmmaker made his mark with his first two films, Friday and Set It Off. Then he went into mainstream action rolling out The Negotiator, The Italian Job and Law Abiding Citizen, before bringing the story of NWA to the big screen with the upcoming Straight Out of Compton. The only surprise here is that he wasn’t inducted sooner.

Fernando Trueba
With a long list of films to his name, this Spanish director is best-known for the Oscar-winning Belle Epoque, which launched Penélope Cruz, and the lusciously animated Oscar-nominee Chico & Rita.

Kelly Reichardt
This indie auteur has only ever received overwhelming praise for her films, Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff and Night Moves. We’re not sure why it took that many critically heralded films to crack the Academy algorithm, but we’re thankful it finally happened.

Justin Lin
The Fast and Furious movies may never get a major Oscar nomination, but the Taiwanese filmmaker who made the franchise fresh again hasn’t gone without notice. Lin made car chase movies that pulsed with emotion and heartbreak, folded in tropes from soap operas, and became one of the most successful film series the world has ever seen. We can’t wait to see what he does next, and are glad to see such an imaginative filmmaker will be weighing in on Oscar’s big night.

Cool white guys who got in:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Tom Hardy, Stephen Lang, Jody Lee Lipes, John Carroll Lynch, Denis O’Hare, Chris Pine, Daniel Radcliffe, Eddie Redmayne, Jason Segel, J.K. Simmons, Michael Binder, Damien Chazelle, Simon Curtis, François Girard, James Gunn, François Ozon, Paweł Pawlikowski, Ira Sachs, Morten Tyldum, Edgar Wright, and Joe Wright.

You can see the full list of new members at THR.

Kristy Puchko wants you to know that Chris Pine crying is her spirit animal.

Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.