Saturday, 23 January 2016

Academy Awards (Oscars) begin diversity changes

The board of governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is now making sweeping changes to help the Academy Awards become more diverse moving forward. The Friday announcement of the changes comes amidst criticism of the 2016 Oscars, for which no black actors or actresses were nominated. On Thursday night, the board of governors unanimously approved policies designed to double the number of women and minorities in the Academy by 2020.

AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement released Friday that the board is committed to “begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition,” and that “the Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up.” Starting later this year, new members can vote for 10 years, and only have their status renewed if they’ve been active in movies during that decade. Lifetime voting rights, which used to be a given, will only go to those receiving three 10-year terms in a row, or if a member has been nominated for or won an Academy award.

In addition, the board will launch a worldwide campaign to help find new, diverse members. In the immediate future, the Academy is adding three board of governor seats to increase its diversity. The Academy said in its statement that this will “allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making,” as well as “help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.”

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