For the second year in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has found itself under fire for not nominating any black actors. In the wake of mounting pressure and actors pledging to boycott the 2016 Oscars, the organization made a new promise Friday.
In a unanimous vote taken Thursday night, the group’s board of governors approved several changes toward making its membership, governing bodies and voting members more diverse, which resulted in the organization pledging to double the number of female and minority members by 2020.
“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a press release Friday. “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”
We’re making changes. New Academy membership and voting diversity initiatives announced today. https://t.co/Arna4YvgY1
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 22, 2016
The chief strategy to increase diversity will offer new members a 10-year voting status that will be immediately renewed for another 10 years if the member was active in motion pictures within the decade. In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three decades of activity or after winning or being nominated for an Academy Award, which expands the ways in which individuals can qualify for the academy.
Those who do not meet any of those qualifications for active status will be moved to emeritus status, which gives members all the privileges of the academy except voting rights.
For immediate results, the organization plans to increase its diversity by adding new members who are not officially part of the board of governors, which is responsible for key decisions about membership and governance. However, the academy says it will give new members the opportunity to become “more active” in decision-making in the future.
Moving forward, the group said it will establish three new seats to the board of governors who will be nominated by Isaacs for three-year terms and confirmed by the current board.
The academy also announced that it will launch a global effort to identify and recruit qualified members that increase diversity.
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