Lady Gaga, Letitia Wright among hundreds invited to join film academy

FILE PHOTO: 91st Academy Awards – Vanity Fair – Beverly Hills, California, U.S., February 24, 2019 – Lady Gaga holds her award for Best Original Song "Shallow". REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The group that hands out the Oscars said on Monday it had invited 842 new members from 59 countries including Lady Gaga, Sterling K. Brown and Letitia Wright as the organization strives to further diversify its ranks.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said half of the new invitees were women and 29% were people of color. If all accept, it will bring total membership to more than 9,000 - 32% of them female and 16% of them people of color.

Other invitees include Adele, Claire Foy, Tom Holland and Elisabeth Moss.

In 2016, the academy launched a campaign to diversify its membership after criticism that its largely white, male and older roster of film industry professionals was a barrier to racial and gender equality among Oscar winners and nominees.

The next Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 9.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Susan Thomas