London (AFP) - Australian actress Cate Blanchett and British director Ridley Scott attended a party in London late on Wednesday for the newest members of the US-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The Academy is bringing in 322 new members -- most of them European -- who will be able to vote for Oscar nominees at next year's Academy Awards in February in an effort to become more globally representative.
"Forty percent of our nominees last year were from Europe, half of them from United Kingdom," Academy CEO Dawn Hudson told attendees at the party held in the US ambassador to London's residence.
Twenty-eight of the Academy's newest members were present at the celebration, which will be followed by a similar one in Paris on Friday.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African-American to hold the post, said: "We want to extend our reach with the recognition of great talents that are around the world".
Nicolas Schmerkin, a French producer who won an Oscar in 2010 for Best Animated short Film with "Logorama", said he was overjoyed at joining the Academy.
"I thought you became a member automatically after winning but you have to sign up and have two supporters from the academy," he told AFP.
The Academy has around 7,000 members, including representatives of all aspects of the cinema industry -- from make-up to costumes to editors and actors.
The next Oscars ceremony will be on February 28, 2016.