Two Icelanders Inducted into AMPAS Skip to content

Two Icelanders Inducted into AMPAS

On Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), inducted 322 new members into its ranks, including two Icelanders: Fríða S. Aradóttir, hairstylist, and Jóhann Jóhannsson, composer.

AMPAS is best known for sponsoring the annual Academy Awards—officially titled the Oscars since 2013—and only its members are eligible to vote on nominations.

Fríða’s career in the film industry spans over two decades—she has worked on films such as Forrest Gump, and the Ocean’s Trilogy, and in 2013 ran the hair department for award-winning film August: Osage County.

Jóhann’s work in the film industry is similarly expansive, and he is best known for the score of James Marsh’s 2014 film The Theory of Everything, which won him both a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination.

According to Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the third woman and first African American to undertake the role, this year’s group represent a record proportion of younger, ethnically diverse and female inductees.

The Academy has long been criticized for being a homogenous group of primarily older, white men, and in recent years, in response to such criticism, it’s administration has actively sought to diversify the group.

“It’s been gratifying to see big increases in expanding colour, gender, age and national origin in our membership this year,” Boone Isaacs told Variety. “The entire conversation of inclusiveness is at the forefront in Hollywood, in film, television, music, everything – and all of that bodes well for the future”

Isaacs’ words come in the wake of this year’s Oscars, where all 20 nominees for the categories of Best Actor and Best Actress were Caucasian, resulting in a media firestorm.

Selma, Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed historical drama based on the iconic 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches, was in particular perceived to have been snubbed by the Academy, receiving only two nominations—to the ire of many.

The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite trended on Twitter, and was used to bring attention to the fact that at that point 94 percent of Academy voters were white, and 77 percent were male.

“Every step we take, we are stepping toward the goal of normalization — I love that word. This is a continuum. The goal is the normalization in having artists and films rep society as a whole. Each year we take steps, and sometimes the steps are smaller, but we are committed to continue with that goal,” Boone Isaacs added.

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