With the ‘OscarsSoWhite’ campaign still making headlines left and right, and with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) under intense media scrutiny and pressure to reform, it seems several dramatic changes have been ruled on by those in charge of the Oscars.
The Academy has unveiled changes in its structure and voting regulations in an effort to promote diversity, starting with three new seats being added to its fifty-one person board of governors. Members chosen to fill those seats will be nominated by the president for three-year terms and then confirmed by the board. New members who are not on the board of governors will immediately be added to its executive and board committees – allowing new members to have a more active role in Academy decision-making.
More impactful is a change to membership voting status – each new member’s voting status will last a decade, and will then be renewed if that new member has been active in films during that decade. Members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.
Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status and, while they will enjoy other membership privileges, will not be able to vote. Those standards will be applied retroactively to current members and will take immediate effect, but won’t impact the voting for this year’s Oscars.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs says in a statement: “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.” She also added that the Academy will launch “an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.”
Is it enough to stem the backlash? More as it unfolds.