The Academy Has Reacted to #OscarsSoWhite

January 22nd 2016

Laura Donovan

Following immense controversy surrounding #OscarsSoWhite, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which awards the Oscars, has promised to make its voting members "significantly more diverse" within the next four years.

Here's what was announced:

  • The Academy established a goal to double the number of women and diverse members by 2020.
  • Starting this year, each new member will have a voting status of ten years. If that person has been active in motion pictures over that ten-year period, he or she will be renewed. After three, ten-year terms, this person will have lifetime voting rights.
  • As for current members, they will be evaluated retroactively to determine whether they have been active for the previous ten years.

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Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who previously lamented the lack of people of color nominated this year, said that the Academy is taking the lead on this issue, which likely goes beyond the awards selection process and extends to the mostly white Hollywood executives making movies.

“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” Isaacs said in a statement. “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”

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This decision comes after major backlash on social media following another year of all white nominees in the Academy Awards acting categories. Actress Jada Pinkett-Smith and director Spike Lee both publicly called out the Oscars, and acting nominees Brie Larson and Mark Ruffalo also acknowledged that the conversation surrounding #OscarsSoWhite is important to have. Best Actress nominee Charlotte Rampling recently caused a stir when she said that #OscarsSoWhite was "racist" against whites.

Here are some reactions to the Academy's change: