The Academy Takes Historic Steps To Promote Diversity

23 January 2016 | 1:10 pm | Staff Writer

"The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up…"

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have unveiled some big changes to their voting regulations and board structure, a response to the lack of diversity pointed out by numerous outspoken Hollywood individuals such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, as well as the general public. 

In a new statement, the Academy wrote that three seats will now be appointed by the president of the Academy to the 51-person board of governors. Additionally, individual members' voting rights will be reviewed for relevancy every 10 years.

These three new members will be on the board for three-year terms, with more members added to the executive and board committees who are not on the board of governors.

The Academy also noted that its ultimate goal was to double the number of women and diverse members in the Academy by 2020, in "a series of courageous steps" according to President of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

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Members' voting rights will be reviewed every 10 years and will be assessed on whether they have been active in motion pictures during that time. Members will receive lifetime voting rights if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award, or have been renewed for three 10-year terms. 

Boone Isaacs said 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."