The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted unanimously Thursday night to implement a historic series of changes aimed at increasing diversity among the academy’s membership. The move comes amid a simmering controversy over a lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees.
The organization committed to doubling the number of women and diverse members by 2020. In announcing the moves, AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said: “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.”
Among the moves announced today are steps to reframe lifetime voting rights, bring in new members, add seats on the Board of Governors and restructure academy committees.
“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,” the academy announced. “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.
“At the same time, the Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.”
The academy is also creating three new seats on the Board of Governors, with the president to nominate candidates for three-year terms, and the board to confirm the nominees.
“The academy will also take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made,” the announcement adds. “This will allow new members an opportunity to become more active in academy decision-making and help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.”