And the Academy invitation to vote on the Oscars goes to ... Jason Statham

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Jason Statham, Lupita Nyong'o and Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi are now eligible to vote for next year's Oscars after being invited to join the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The trio were named amongst a proposed new intake of writers, actors, directors and other film workers which has been praised for beginning the process of modernising an organisation which has long been criticised for its dependence on white older males. The list of directors invited to join the Academy this year is particularly impressive, with Hayao Miyazaki, Thomas Vinterberg and Paolo Sorrentino all amongst potential new members.

Actors invited to join also include Michael Fassbender and Chris Rock, while musicians Pharrell Williams and Eddie Vedder could soon be voting in the best song category. Britain's Steve Coogan has been invited to join thanks to his screenwriting work on the Oscar-nominated drama Philomena, and could be joined by 12 Years a Slave writer John Ridley.

In all 271 people have been invited to join the Academy. The Hollywood Reporter said the new list "reflects a clear desire, on the part of Hollywood's most prestigious awards-dispensing group, to shed its image as a club of old white American men, and to become younger, hipper and more diverse and worldly - as quickly as possible".

While the Academy is generally seen as one of the more venerable awards season bodies, it was rocked earlier this year by claims that a song from an obscure Christian movie, Alone Yet Not Alone, had been parachuted into the list of best song nominees ahead of hundreds of better known candidates after its composer emailed members asking for their support. The organisation has now tightened up procedures to ensure there is no repeat.

Powered by article was written by Ben Child, for on Friday 27th June 2014 16.22 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010