Oscars announce plans to reform voting pool
Board aims for 48% women membership, 14% to “diverse groups”
Film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced Friday that the academy will double the number of female and minority members by 2020, and will immediately diversify its leadership by adding three new seats to its board of governors.
The academy now aims for women to comprise 48 percent of its membership and “diverse groups” at least 14 percent as an initial step.
“We all are aware that our membership is pretty closed, if you will,” she said in an in- terview Friday with The Associated Press. “However, life has changed. Things have changed.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 51-member board of governors unanimously approved a series of reforms late Thursday to “begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition,” Boone Isaacs said, following a weeklong storm of criticism and calls for an Oscar boycott because of the lack of diversity among nominees. Several of Hollywood’s most prominent African-Americans, including Will Smith and Spike Lee, have said they won’t attend this year’s Oscars, which is to be hosted by Chris Rock.
Other approved academy changes include limiting members’ voting status to a period of 10 years, to be extended only if the individual remains active in film during that decade. Lifetime voting rights will be granted only to Academy Award nominees and winners, and to members after three ten-year voting terms. Previously, all active members received lifetime voting rights.
The organization also plans to diversify its leadership by adding new members to key decision-making committees.