The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars, has extended invitations to 398 distinguished artists and executives to join the organization in 2023. Among the invitees are six Africans–one from Algeria and five from Nigeria, who have made their mark in the film industry.
The four Africans are:
- Richard Mofe-Damijo: The Nigerian actor, writer, producer, lawyer and former journalist who is popularly known as RMD. He has starred in many Nollywood films, such as Out of Bounds, The Figurine, Ojuju and Citation. He won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 2005 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 20161. He was also the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Delta State from 2009 to 2015.
- Mounia Meddour: The Algerian director of Papicha, a drama about a young woman who defies the conservative regime in her country by organizing a fashion show. The film was Algeria’s entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the 92nd Academy Awards, but was disqualified because it did not meet the eligibility criteria2. Meddour has been invited to join the Directors branch of the Academy.
- C.J. “Fiery” Obasi: The Nigerian director of Ojuju, a horror film about a zombie outbreak in a Lagos slum. The film won the Best Nigerian Film award at the 2014 Africa International Film Festival. Obasi is also known for his films O-Town, Hello, Rain and Mami Wata. He has been invited to join the Directors branch of the Academy.
- Jadesola Osiberu: The Nigerian producer of Isoken, a romantic comedy about a successful but unmarried woman who faces pressure from her family and society. The film won three awards at the 2018 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, including Best Movie West Africa. Osiberu is also the producer of Sugar Rush, Nigeria’s highest-grossing film of 2019. She has been invited to join the Producers branch of the Academy.
- Kunle Afolayan: The Nigerian writer, director and producer of The Figurine, a thriller about two friends who find a mystical sculpture that bestows good luck for seven years. The film won five awards at the 2010 Africa Movie Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Afolayan is also known for his films October 1, The CEO and Citation. He has been invited to join both the Writers and Directors branches of the Academy.
- Shola Dada: The Nigerian writer of Eyimofe (This Is My Desire), a drama about two strangers who seek a better life in Europe. The film premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the 2020 AFI Fest. Dada has been invited to join the Writers branch of the Academy.
The Academy’s membership selection is based on professional qualifications, with an ongoing commitment to representation, inclusion and equity. According to the Academy, of the 2023 class, 40% identify as women, 34% belong to underrepresented ethnic/racial communities and 52% are from 50 countries and territories outside the U.S.
The Academy also reiterated its aims to advance representation, inclusion and equity in the film industry and among its membership. New members will be welcomed at a virtual event in September.