Follow Us on Twitter

Academy unveils drastic changes to promote more diversity at Oscars

Story by Jack Foley

A SERIES of dramatic reforms will be introduced by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to ensure that no future lists of potential Oscar winners will provoke as much of an outcry as the nominations for the 2016 awards ceremony.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the group’s CEO Dawn Hudson unveiled the first set of changes on Friday (January 22, 2016) in direct response to the mounting criticism surrounding this year’s all-white nominations list.

The goal of the changes, they said, is to double the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020 so that women comprise 48% of the organisation and diverse groups make up 14% of total membership.

The Academy is also adding three new seats to its 51-person board of governors. But rather than represent existing branches, the new members will be nominated by the president for just three-year terms and then confirmed by the board.

Boone Isaacs anticipates naming the new board members by February if possible.

There will also be immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not on the board of governors to its executive and board committees. This is intended to try and ensure that new members have a more active role in Academy decision-making.

There will also be new rules concerning voting status. Each new members’ status will be valid for 10 years and subsequent renewal will be dependent on that new member being active in motion pictures during that period.

Voters will only receive lifetime voting rights after three 10-year terms, or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.

The same standards will also be applied retroactively to existing members. However, none of the changes will effect this year’s Oscars.

Speaking resolutely, Boone Isaacs declared in a statement: “The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up. These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”