Cliff Curtis and Taika Waititi invited to join the Oscar academy

Taika Waititi and Cliff Curtis have been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Taika Waititi and Cliff Curtis have been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis and actor/director Taika Waititi have been invited to join the Oscar academy in its latest bid to diversify.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars, announced it is enlisting 683 new members after this year's ceremony highlighted an over-representation of white males in the academy.

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There was outrage in January when the academy announced its Oscar nominees, with a total absence of black actors. Celebrities started calling for a boycott and the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite dominated social media.

At the time, the academy promised to diversify and do better. Now it's completed a global search for new members, including New Zealand's two Maori film stalwarts.

Curtis is currently starring in the television series Fear the Walking Dead, but has starred in many Hollywood films and award-winning local productions such as Once Were Warriors, Whale Rider and The Dark Horse.

Waititi was nominated for an Oscar in 2004 for his short film Two Cars, One Night but shot to international stardom with his film What We Do in the Shadows.

He went on to conquer the international market with Hunt for the Wilderpeople and is now directing Hollywood's upcoming Marvel blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok.

While 90 per cent of the academy is white and 75 per cent male, its latest recruitment drive will see its female membership rise from 25 per cent to 27 per cent. Members of colour will rise from 8 per cent to 11 per cent.

- NZ Herald

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