They’re adding three new members, who unlike the other 51 governors, are not elected by the individual branches. Director Reginald Hudlin, who co-produced this year’s Oscars, writer Gregory Nava (“Frida”) and animator Jennifer Yuh Nelson (“Kung Fu Panda 2”) were confirmed by the current Board members for three-year terms, effective immediately.
On Tuesday the Academy also apologized, after receiving a protest letter from 25 members of Asian descent including Oscar-winning directors Frieda Lee Mock (“Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision”) and director Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”), for Chris Rock’s “tone-deaf,” “tasteless and offensive” Asian joke on the February 28th Oscar telecast: “The Academy appreciates the concerns stated, and regrets that any aspect of the Oscar telecast was offensive. We are committed to doing our best to ensure that material in future shows be more culturally sensitive.”
Six members were also added to board oversight committees. Actor Gael García Bernal (“Y Tu Mama Tambien”) will join the Awards and Events Committee, chaired by First Vice President Jeffrey Kurland. Cinematographer Amy Vincent (“Hustle & Flow”) is on the Preservation and History Committee, chaired by Vice President John Bailey. Producer Effie Brown (“Project Greenlight”) joins the Museum Committee, chaired by Vice President Kathleen Kennedy. Executives Marcus Hu (Strand Releasing) and animator Floyd Norman (“Monsters Inc.”) join the Education and Outreach Committee, chaired by Vice President Bill Kroyer.
As for the thorny question of how to assess a member’s voting rights, the Board reaffirmed its January 21 resolution to make sure Academy voters are active in the motion picture industry. As Boone Isaacs had suggested to me, the Board agreed to let each branch’s executive committee determine specific criteria for active voters based on the guidelines established in January.
3. Members who have won or been nominated for an Oscar®.
Starting this spring, branch executive committees will meet every two years to review their members and determine any potential reclassifications. The committees also will adopt an appeals process for members who may lose their voting privileges. This gives a lot of power over who votes to the branch executive committee, who can be as tough or lenient as they choose in interpreting the rather vague guidelines.
“I’m proud of the steps we have taken to increase diversity,” said Boone Isaacs. “However, we know there is more to do as we move forward to make this a more inclusive organization.”