Kobe Bryant didn’t make the cut, but a record 928 artists, filmmakers, and executives were invited today to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the organization that hands out the Oscars.

The Academy has made big strides in the last few years to become a more inclusive organization, announcing in 2016 that it would aim to double the number of women and diverse members of the organization by 2020. This year, the Academy points out that 49% of its new invites were given to women. Since 2015, the Academy’s overall membership has increased from 25% female to 31% female.

Additionally, 38% of the invites were given to people of color this year. Since 2015, the Academy’s overall membership has increased from 8% people of color to 16% people of color.

Among the Academy’s 17 branches, there are two related to this site’s areas of coverage: the Short Films & Feature Animation and Visual Effects branches. In the former branch, the Academy invited 106 people, while in the latter branch, 52 people were invited.

In nine branches, more women were invited than men. Neither the animation nor vfx branches were among those nine, however, the list of invitees this year is still extremely hopeful. It thankfully looks nothing like just three years ago, when we criticized the invite list for the animation/vfx branch for being almost entirely male.

A few notes on the animation membership:

The number of independent women filmmakers is notable. There are some invitees whose names you see on this year’s list, and it’s shocking to realize that they hadn’t already been invited. For example, no one had thought of inviting Joanna Quinn, 
Michaela Pavlátová, and Suzan Pitt all these years? They’re joined by a who’s who of contemporary female talent: 
Rose Bond, Spela Cadez, Sofia Carrillo, Martine Chartrand, 
Michèle Cournoyer, Daisy Jacobs, Dahee Jeong, Ru Kuwahata, Nina Paley, and Regina Pessoa, among them. Also worth mentioning: a number of super-experienced women on the industry side who finally received their invites, such as Allison Abbate, Jill Culton, Karen Disher, Yvette Kaplan, and Kathy Zielinski.

The Short Film & Feature Animation branch is still overwhelmingly feature and industry-slanted, but having more independent voices in the mix – both female and male – will go a long way in helping the Academy identify short films that are worthwhile, instead of honoring unremarkable and generic animated works like Piper and Dear Basketball. This effort to balance out the disproportionate presence of industry artists in the branch with respected short filmmakers will hopefully result in short nominees that more accurately reflect the high level of craft and content in contemporary short filmmaking.

Another interesting aspect of this year’s animation invitees is that some of the invited filmmakers are the same ones who have been criminally overlooked by the Academy in recent years. It’s a nice olive branch by the Academy and something that we haven’t seen them do before. Filmmakers who fall in this category include Spela Cadez, whose film Nighthawk was widely considered to be one of the best shorts of recent vintage; the perennially ignored Japanese masters (
Mamoru Hosoda, Sunao Katabuchi, Makoto Shinkai); and Swiss filmmaker Georges Schwizgebel, who unbelievably has never been nominated in his remarkable 50-year filmmaking career.

The Academy’s Short Film & Feature Animation branch should be applauded for this year’s sincere effort to create a balanced and representative list of animation invitees. The 2018 list of people invited to join the Short Films & Feature Animation and Visual Effects branches are below. Names with an asterisk beside them denote someone who has been invited to join the Academy by multiple branches, and must select one branch upon accepting membership.

Short Films and Feature Animation branch

Allison Abbate – Frankenweenie, The Iron Giant
Kim Adams – Rain or Shine, Small Fry

Ali Asgari – Gaze, The Silence
Katja Benrath – Watu Wote/All of Us, Tilda
Rose Bond – Electroflux, Cerridwen’s Gift
Jongnic Bontemps – The Big Chop, There Are Ghosts
Paul Briggs – Big Hero 6, Frozen
Nick Bruno – The Peanuts Movie, Ice Age Continental Drift
Spela Cadez – Nighthawk, Boles
Sofia Carrillo – Cerulia, La Casa Triste (The Sad House)
Scott Carroll – Ferdinand, The Peanuts Movie
Martine Chartrand – MacPherson, Black Soul (Ame Noire)
Bruno Chauffard – Despicable Me 3, The Secret Life of Pets
Yarrow Cheney – The Secret Life of Pets, Despicable Me
Teresa Cheng – Shrek Forever After, Madagascar
Pedro Collantes – Serori, Eskiper
Melanie Coombs – Mary and Max, Harvie Krumpet
Michèle Cournoyer – Accordéon, The Hat
Jill Culton – Open Season, Monsters, Inc.
Cassidy Curtis – How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Jennifer Dahlman – Coin Operated, Penguins of Madagascar
Kevin Deters – Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, The Ballad of Nessie
Karen Disher – Rio, Surviving Sid
Ann Marie Fleming – Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming), Blue Skies
Nick Fletcher – Trolls, Home
Kirk Garfield – Ferdinand, Rio 2
Danis Goulet – Barefoot, Wapawekka
Carlos Grangel – Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Shark Tale
Hamish Grieve – Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie, Rise of the Guardians
Nicole Grindle – Incredibles 2, Sanjay’s Super Team
Yasser Hamed – Moana, Big Hero 6
Atsuko Hirayanagi – Oh Lucy!, Mo Ikkai
Harry Hitner* – Ferdinand, Rio
Brent Homman – Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Big Hero 6
Mamoru Hosoda – The Boy and the Beast, The Girl Who Leapt through Time
Daisy Jacobs – The Full Story, The Bigger Picture
Jeong Dahee – Man on the Chair, The Empty
Yvette Kaplan – Ice Age, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America
Sunao Katabuchi – In This Corner of the World, Mai Mai Miracle
Dorota Kobiela – Loving Vincent, Little Postman
Ru Kuwahata – Negative Space, Something Left, Something Taken
Jan Lachauer – Revolting Rhymes, Room on the Broom
Josh Lawson – The Eleven O’Clock, After the Credits
Pierre Leduc – Sing, Minions
Lei Lei – Hand-Colored No. 2, Recycled
Anthony Leo – The Breadwinner, Todd & the Book of Pure Evil: The End of the End
Alexander Levenson – Ferdinand, The Peanuts Movie
Li Jie – Coal Story, Three Pieces of Sincere Advice
Liu Jian – Have a Nice Day, Look at This Man
Adolph Lusinsky – Moana, Big Hero 6
Maggie Malone – Big Hero 6, The Princess and the Frog
Joe Mancewicz – Alvin and the Chipmunks, Happy Feet
Pam Marsden Siragusa – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Dinosaur
Mauro Mueller – A World for Raúl, Ge.hen’nah
Vincent Di Nguyen – The Peanuts Movie, Surviving Sid
Fredrik Nilsson – The Boss Baby, The Croods
Kevin M. Ochs – How to Train Your Dragon 2, Kung Fu Panda 2
Ngozi Onwurah – Hang Time, The Body Beautiful
Mauricio Osaki – My Father’s Truck, The Dust of Your Photos
Chris Overton – The Silent Child, Dalston Heath
Sergio Pablos – Rio, Despicable Me
Nina Paley – Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, Sita Sings the Blues
Michaela Pavlátová – Tram, Reci, Reci, Reci… (Words, Words, Words)
Ruben Perez – The Boss Baby, Penguins of Madagascar
Regina Pessoa – Kali the Little Vampire, Tragic Story with Happy Ending
Suzan Pitt – Pinball, Visitation
Bobby Podesta – Cars 3, Toy Story 3
Max Porter – Negative Space, Something Left, Something Taken
Carlos Fernandez Puertolas – The Boss Baby, Home
Joanna Quinn – Dreams and Desires: Family Ties, Famous Fred
Eric Ramsey – Trolls, Turbo
Vanitha Rangaraju – The Boss Baby, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Jeffrey R. Ranjo – Frozen, Surf’s Up
Timothy Reckart – The Star, Head over Heels
Tobias Rosen – Watu Wote/All of Us, Feuerkind
Farnoosh Samadi –Gaze, The Silence
Gini Cruz Santos – Coco, The Good Dinosaur
Jakob Schuh – Revolting Rhymes, The Gruffalo
Georges Schwizgebel – Erlking, Romance
Yuriko Senoo – The Star, The Pirate Fairy
Carla Shelley – Early Man, Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Rachel Shenton – The Silent Child, The Winter’s Club
Makoto Shinkai – Your Name, Children Who Chase Lost Voices
Amy Lawson Smeed – Moana, Tangled
Tony Smeed – Zootopia, Frozen
Keith L. Smith – Post Life, Island Song
Patrick Smith – Puppet, Handshake
Josh Staub – Inner Workings, Feast
Stacey Steers – Edge of Alchemy, Night Hunter
Chris Stover – Turbo, Foodfight
Mark Swift – Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie, Penguins of Madagascar
Shannon Tindle – Kubo and the Two Strings, Curious George
Karen Rupert Toliver* – Ferdinand, Rio
Cilia Van Dijk – The Last Words of Dutch Schultz, Anna & Bella
Cesar Velazquez – Zootopia, Wreck-It Ralph
Dina Velikovskaya – About a Mother, My Strange Grandfather
John Walker – Incredibles 2, The Incredibles
Dick Walsh – The Boss Baby, Shrek Forever After
Dave Walvoord – How to Train Your Dragon 2, Kung Fu Panda 2
Hugh Welchman – Loving Vincent, Peter & the Wolf
Stevie Wermers-Skelton – Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, The Ballad of Nessie
Carey Williams – Emergency, Cherry Waves
Larry Y. Wu – Moana, Big Hero 6
Paul Young – Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells

Jennifer Yu – Moana, Wreck-It Ralph
Kathy Zielinski – The Road to El Dorado, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Visual Effects branch

Gregory Anderson – The Wall, The Warrior’s Way
Angela Barson – Tulip Fever, Me before You
Jay Barton – The Fate of the Furious, Furious 7
Geoffrey Baumann – Black Panther, Doctor Strange
Joel Behrens – Ready Player One, Pixels
Jean Bolte – Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Age of Ultron
Glenn Campbell – Repentance, Walking with the Enemy
Jeff Capogreco – Kong: Skull Island, Transformers: The Last Knight
Trent Claus – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Doctor Strange
Patrick Conran – Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pacific Rim
Jonathan Egstad – The Boss Baby, Trolls
Mark Elendt
Jonathan Fawkner – Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy
Audrey Ferrara – Alien: Covenant, Passengers
Lucinda Foy – Ouija, Death Race
Eric Frazier – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Nocturnal Animals
Florian Gellinger – Black Panther, The Dark Tower
Larry Gritz – Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The Emoji Movie
Charlie Iturriaga – Chappie, Gone Girl
Paul Kavanagh – Transformers: The Last Knight, Star Trek Into Darkness
Michael Koperwas – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rango
Gene Kozicki – Big Miracle, Moneyball
Paul Lambert – Blade Runner 2049, The Huntsman: Winter’s War
Kevin Martel – Avengers: Infinity War, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Aaron McBride – Kong: Skull Island, Marvel’s The Avengers
Ken McGaugh – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, The BFG

Scott Meadows – Ready Player One, Black Panther
Yvonne Muinde – Rampage, Black Panther
Mike Mulholland – Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Avengers: Age of Ultron
Gerd Nefzer – Blade Runner 2049, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Erik Nordby – Passengers, The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Jessica Norman – Wonder Woman, World War Z
Kaori Ogino – Kong: Skull Island, Jurassic World
Russell T. Paul – Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Philip Peterson – Mars Needs Moms, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Andrew Roberts – Independence Day: Resurgence, Snow White and the Huntsman
Rachel Rose – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Noah
Sue Rowe – The Legend of Tarzan, Independence Day: Resurgence
Daryl Sawchuk –
Black Panther, Doctor Strange
Nelson Sepulveda – Kong: Skull Island, Marvel’s The Avengers
Thrain Shadbolt – Rampage, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Matt Sloan – Maze Runner: The Death Cure, X-Men: Apocalypse
Greg Steele – Avengers: Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy
Sandra Stewart – Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Nigel Sumner – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Pacific Rim
Hanzhi Tang – Thor: Ragnarok, Independence Day: Resurgence
Corey Turner – Monster Trucks, Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Todd Vaziri – Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Chris Waegner – Spider-Man: Homecoming, Suicide Squad
Joel Whist – War for the Planet of the Apes, The BFG
Sheila Wickens – On Chesil Beach, The Limehouse Golem
Alison Wortman – Dunkirk, Alice through the Looking Glass

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