The inclusion of these Nigerian talents highlights their remarkable contributions to the film industry, and the Academy’s commitment to diversity in representation.
By Helena Olori
The Nigerian film industry is seeing a growing representation at the Oscars, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has extended invitations to four Nigerian filmmakers and an actor, alongside 393 other artists and executives, to join the prestigious organisation in 2023.
Among the Nollywood stars receiving invitations to the Academy are veteran actor, Richard Mofe-Damijo, popularly known as RMD; he will join the Actors branch. Joining the Directors branch is CJ “Fiery” Obasi, an indie filmmaker and the director of the Sundance award-winning film Mami Wata, which is currently having multiple festival runs across Europe, and gearing up for its theatrical release in Nigeria.
Jade Osiberu, whose film, Gangs of Lagos, recently made it to Amazon Prime Video’s list of most-watched non-English films, has been invited as a Producer. The acclaimed filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan, and AMVCA award-winning writer, Shola Dada, have both been invited to the Writers’ branch of the Academy.
According to the official press release, “Membership selection is based on professional qualifications, with an ongoing commitment to representation, inclusion and equity.” The inclusion of these Nigerian talents not only highlights their immense contributions to the film industry, but also buttresses the Academy’s commitment to diversity in representation.
This year’s class of 398 new members includes 40% women and 34% individuals from underrepresented ethnic and racial communities, with 52% of them being members from countries outside the US.
“The Academy is proud to welcome these artists and professionals into our membership,” says Academy CEO, Bill Kramer. “They represent extraordinary global talent across cinematic disciplines, and have made a vital impact on the arts and sciences of motion pictures and on movie fans worldwide,” added Janet Jang, the Academy President.
The Academy, which hosts the renowned annual Academy Awards, also known as “The Oscars,” brings together industry players from various branches of the film industry, including actors, directors, producers, writers, etc. An invitation to join the Academy is often regarded as a significant recognition within the film industry. It offers members voting rights for the Academy Awards and opportunity to participate in exclusive Academy events, screenings, and discussions.
In previous editions, Nigerian filmmakers such as Tunde Kelani, Ramsey Nouah, Mo Abudu, and Andrew Dosumu, were also invited.
Other notable invitees for this year’s class include Keke Palmer, Lashana Lynch, Ke Huy Quan, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd.
See all invitees for 2023 here.