Oscars Working On Diversity Problem
As is often the case around this time of the year, the Oscars are a big point of conversation.
However this year it is for a slightly different reason. As has been noticed by… everyone, most of the major nominations are all white. Oscar host Chris Rock has already gotten good use out of it for comedic posts on twitter while other Hollywood figures such as Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith and husband Will Smith have announced that they will be boycotting the event. In response the Oscars have decided to make some changes to make sure more women and people of color can get nominated.
The idea behind this is by making changes in the voting and recruitment process this could help diversify the Academy by 2020. Specific changes include adding 3 extra seats to the board, it was 21 originally. Also, members will be able to vote for 10 years and continue after if they’ve been in the business during that time. If they do this 3 times in a row or get nominated themselves they get these voting rights for life. If a voter is not active during that time then they’ll receive emeritus status meaning they have all of their normal privileges of being members but cannot vote or have to pay dues. Lastly, they will also launch new campaigns to recruit new members with a greater emphasis on diversity. On the changes, President of the Academy Cheryl Boone Isaacs was quoted as saying,
“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.”
Something to remember about the nomination process is that, despite what most people think the Oscars do not come up with the nominees themselves. The studios send the Academy who they think should be nominated for what. Another thing to remember is that in the film business black actors only get about 15% of choice roles according to SAG reports and that number only goes farther down for other minority groups, meaning that while these changes may help, it seems more like a case of treating the symptom and not the cause. The 2016 Oscars will air on ABC on Sunday, February 28th.
What do you think about the Oscars this year? Do you think these measures will work?
This story was first reported on by Variety