73 people who were invited to participate in the Academy's animation and VFX branch

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, has invited 395 artists, filmmakers, and executives to join its organization.

Among the Academy's branches, there are two related to Cartoon Brew's areas of coverage: Short Films & Feature Animation and Visual Effects. This year, 39 were invited to the former and 34 to the latter. Last year, those numbers were 81 and 48.

The steep drop in invitations can be seen across all 17 branches: the Academy is only welcoming 395 new members this year, as opposed to 819 last year. This was done “[t]o enable steady future growth and to ensure the necessary infrastructure, staff resources, and environment to support all Academy members,” said the organization in a statement. The proportion of invitations going to animation and vfx people has actually gone up, from 15.8% to 18.5%.

The 2021 class across all branches is 46% women, 39% underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 53% international (from 49 countries outside of the U.S.). As in previous years, the animation and vfx intakes come up notably short in terms of women: only around a third of new animation members and roughly a fifth of new vfx members identify as female. We have written in the past about this problem, and how it might reflect broader structural issues in the animation and vfx industries.

On the other hand, animation and vfx were among the ten branches to have invited the majority of their candidates from countries outside the U.S.

Below are the full lists of people invited to join the Short Films & Feature Animation and Visual Effects branches. The former branch includes filmmakers involved in live-action shorts.