An issue over diversity in the Academy Awards (aka The Oscars) has led to a change in the membership rules. The changes come following the hoo-ha over the lack of ethnic diversity in this year’s nominees. (#OscarsSoWhite). The aim is to double the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.
The average age of an Oscar voter is 63 years old, and the belief is that old white men will only vote for movies that only old white men would like. A lot of people have been saying that Straight Outta Compton should have been up for more awards other than the screenplay (by white writers).
Academy President Cheryl Boone had this to say about the new changes: “The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up. These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”
So, what’s changing? I’ll let the Academy tell you that:
Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade. In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award. We will apply these same standards retroactively to current members. In other words, if a current member has not been active in the last 10 years they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria. Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status. Emeritus members do not pay dues but enjoy all the privileges of membership, except voting. This will not affect voting for this year’s Oscars.