Following #OscarsSoWhite, the Academy “Takes Historic Action”


The Academy has just voted — after proposed boycotts (Jada Pinket/Will Smith, Spike Lee), ubiquitous hashtags (#OscarsSowhite), and a swell of articles rightfully questioning the monochromatic display of this year’s nominees, — to institute some changes, and Michael Caine and Charlotte Rampling will just have to deal.

The board was initially supposed to meet on January 26, but amidst increasing pressure, called an emergency meeting last night to take take “historical action.” According to Variety, the Academy Board is “going to commit to doubling the amount of women and diverse members” of the Academy by 2020.” (Which will still, if my calculations are correct, put non-white voters at around…only 12 percent).

Many have noted that it’s not just the Academy that has to change, but rather the industry as a whole. In making her announcement, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs addressed the issue as one that’s larger than the Oscars, noting that this may be the beginning of a solution for diversifying the recognition awarded at the Oscars, but that Hollywood itself is still way behind:

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.

Now, Academy membership will last for 10 years, and will only be renewed if members are still active in film; members will, however, be given lifetime voting rights after three 10-year membership periods (and these standards will also apply to people who are currently in the Academy). Per Variety, the Academy will also begin a global recruitment campaign to increase diversity.

Selma director Ava DuVernay tweeted the letter she received that announced the changes, and responded to it: