Academy Board endorses changes to increase diversity in Oscar nominees and itself

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Baku, January 27, AZERTAC

Confronting a fierce protest over a second straight year of all-white Oscar acting nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Friday that it would make radical changes to its voting requirements, recruiting process and governing structure, with an aim toward increasing the diversity of its membership, according to The New York Times.

The changes were approved at an unusual special meeting of the group’s 51-member governing board Thursday night. The session ended with a unanimous vote to endorse the new processes, but action on possible changes to Oscar balloting was deferred for later consideration. The board said its goal was 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,” the academy’s president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, said in a statement. Ms. Isaacs referred to an often-repeated complaint that the academy, in its lack of diversity, reflects the demographics of a film industry that for years has been primarily white and male.

The most striking of the changes is a requirement that the voting status of both new and current members be reviewed every 10 years.

Voting status may be revoked for those who have not been active in the film business in a decade. But members who have had three 10-year terms will have lifetime voting rights, as will those who have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.

The academy’s membership is made up of roughly 6,200 movie professionals around the world, and it was not immediately clear how many would be purged from the voting rolls by the new rule.

The changes, and possible balloting adjustments, will not affect this year’s awards, which will be presented on Feb. 28.

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