Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has promised “dramatic steps” would be taken address the diversity woes that have surfaced in an ugly way across this year’s Oscar nominees, in which 95.3% of those going for a trophy are white. And while Isaacs has already promised that Academy membership will be consciously expanded to include more people of color, even more measures are being considered to ensure that next year, a batch of nominees more reflective of society at large will be named.
The New York Times reports that next week, the Academy will be announcing some changes to the Oscars. It’s expected that they will go with a solid ten-film roster for Best Picture, instead of a fluctuating number year-by-year. However, the other changes being discussed are a bit more eye opening. Some are calling for the acting fields to opened up to honor a larger group of nominees, possibly up to ten. There is also some chatter of temporarily revoking voting privileges for those who don’t cast their ballot frequently, or for those who haven’t worked in ten years or more (Academy membership is for life, but the latter suggestion may leave out celebrated or legendary talent, who have since retired, from weighing in).
The 51 members of the Academy board will meet on Tuesday and we’ll see how this shakes out, but the issue goes beyond the once-per-year Oscars. The entire industry needs to do better in creating more opportunities for and telling more stories by people of color, women, and more. This is a responsibility studios, agencies, production companies, and more need to take responsibility on, to affect any real change. Because the Academy can do all they can, but you can’t nominate diverse films if they aren’t being made.
Thoughts? Let us know what you think of the possible changes in our comments section.