In the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite backlash following the nominations announcement, which resulted in heated debate and several stars threatening to boycott the 2016 Awards Ceremony, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has approved a series of “substantive changes” to increase the diversity of its membership, governing bodies and voting members. The Board’s stated goal is to “commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.”
Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that member has been active in motion pictures 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. These standards will be applied retroactively to current members. Those who do not qualify as active members will be given emeritus status and will not be eligible to vote beginning with next year’s Oscars.
The Academy will supplement its traditional process whereby current members sponsor newcomers by launching a global search for qualified new members with the aim of increasing diversity. To take immediate action to increase diversity of the Governors, the Academy is establishing three new seats to be nominated by President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and confirmed by the Board. New members will also be added to the executive and board committees.