Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs promised change, and change is coming. #oscarssowhite continues to be a major talking point in the lead up to the Oscars next month, and earlier this week, Isaacs revealed in an open letter that she was “both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion,” and promised “dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.” And those changes have arrived.
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has signed off on a series of measures that will double the number of minority and women members by 2020. Among the biggest changes, new Academy members will have their voting eligibility reviewed every ten years, during which time they will have to have been active in the industry to maintain their status. After three consecutive ten-year terms, or upon winning or being nominated for an Academy Award, lifetime membership will be granted. As for current members the rules will also be applied, and those who haven’t been active in the movies, will lose their voting rights.
While some might think four years is still too long to get proper diversity among the ranks, remember that next week the Academy is also expected to make changes to the Oscar process as well that will hopefully reflect a broader array of nominations. In short, progress in the on the way.
“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” Isaacs said. “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”
It’s a slyly pointed comment by Isaacs, who rightly notes that studios, and everyone else in Hollywood, also need to consciously make change if an increase of diversity at all corners of the industry is to be felt. Let us know what else you think the Academy could be doing to effect change in the comments section below. [USA Today]