After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy this year and backlash centering around the lack of diversity and multicultural representation at and within the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took aggressive steps to change its membership roster. In June of this year the Academy invited many more minorities and women to join as the first major step in reshaping its membership.
The announcement of the unusually large new class — more than twice last year’s number — followed a January pledge by the academy to double its female and minority membership by 2020 after it failed to nominate any minority actors for an Oscar for the second year in a row.
The academy reports, 46 percent of 2016’s, 683 invitees are women, and 41 percent are minorities. Included were many of the stars and filmmakers who some felt were snubbed when the Oscar nominations were announced this year, including the director Ryan Coogler (Creed) and actors like Will Smith (Concussion ), Michael B. Jordan (Creed) and Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation).
While producer Stephanie Allain of Dear White People, and Hustle & Flow, who was critical of the academy after this year’s nominations and is currently a candidate for the academy’s board of governors, said she was excited by the list, “. . .because it opens the door to deserving artists across disciplines, proving that diversity and excellence are not mutually exclusive.”
It stands to reason that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has chosen to keep its leadership the same: Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected on Tuesday night to a fourth consecutive one-year term as the group’s president. Four is the maximum number of successive years a president can serve, according to academy bylaws. (A fifth term is possible, if unlikely. Ms. Isaacs, 66, would have to step aside for at least a year.)
Ms. Isaacs, formerly served Paramount Pictures as publicity executive, and has worked in recent years with Dawn Hudson, the academy’s chief executive, charged with maintaining the organization’s insular culture while at the same time contending with intense pressure to make its membership less white and male.
The academy invited 683 people in July to become members — more than double last year’s number — a step forward to meet their pledge to double its female and cultural diverse membership by 2020, an almost impossible goal.
Votes by their approximate 7000 members in good standing grant the awards at the annual Academy Awards. Next years Oscar date has been set for February 26. Nominations are scheduled to be announced on January 24. This year’s academy’s acting branch presented all white nominees in the last two Oscar cycles, which sparked much criticism.
Ms. Isaacs and Ms. Hudson, job doesn’t get easier. They will have a daunting task of balancing factors that address more than diversity concerns in days to come. For instance there’s the academy’s $388 million movie museum moving forward at a pace not quite as steady toward a planned 2018 opening due to funding and operational obstacles.
The good news is that 54-member board as part of a slate that includes Jeffrey Kurland as first vice president; John Bailey, Kathleen Kennedy and Nancy Utley as vice presidents; Jim Gianopulos as treasurer; and David Rubin as secretary re-elected Ms. Isaacs.