Oscars vow reforms after diversity row
LOS ANGELES: The Oscars have launched a landmark campaign to diversify the ranks of Academy Award voters who decide which actors, movies and filmmakers earn recognition, but Hollywood’s highest honors may remain a predominantly white affair for some time to come.
Amid an outcry against a field of Oscar-nominated performers lacking a single person of color for a second straight year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a sweeping affirmative action program on Friday, pledging to double female and minority membership by 2020.
“It’s unprecedented for the academy to make this kind of drastic overhaul,” said Tom O’Neil, editor of the awards-tracking website Gold Derby. “It’s a very dramatic announcement and a very welcome breakthrough.”
There was no immediate word from actor Will Smith, film director Spike Lee or a handful of others vowing to skip the February 28 awards show about whether they felt the changes go far enough for them to call off their Oscar boycott. None the measures will affect voting for this year’s Oscars race — a contest whose dearth of racial diversity led to the revival of the Twitter feed # OscarsSoWhite that emerged in 2015.