Academy's Historic Changes Elicit Everything From Praise To Outrage To Making Some Members Very Nervous

Well, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has never been accused of moving too swiftly on making sweeping changes, but it clearly reversed that image with today’s announced actions being implemented to increase diversity in the Oscar-giving organization. And, judging from emails and phone calls I am getting, it already is setting off new controversies — this time among members who feel the entire Academy should have had a chance to weigh in before these new changes were made. More on that in a moment.

Pete Hammond badgeOf course, intense industry pressure and nightmarish PR about the second year in a row of all-white acting nominations moved the group, and particularly President Cheryl Boone Isaacs — who was really hurled toward the fire — into action. As I have often stated, she and CEO Dawn Hudson have made it a hallmark of their administration to try and increase diversity in the Academy membership, but AMPAS has been not moving fast enough for some, who were outraged by the very Caucasian lineup of this academy-of-motion-picture-arts-and-sciencesyear’s Oscar nominees. The bottom line is that even with all of today’s announcements, it might not change the way the Academy thinks, or votes, in future years. You can’t assume that just because you increase — or actually double — the number of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, women and so on that it will mean they will simply vote for their own. Aren’t the Oscars about the work on screen — regardless of who might have done it?

Aside from being a kind of reverse racism, it’s also wrongheaded thinking. That is not at all where the Academy is coming from with these changes (orchestrated by Boone Isaacs in coordination with the Board of Governors’ Membership and Administration Committee chaired by writer-director and Academy Secretary Phil Alden Robinson). They know that with a group that is about 94% white and 77% male, the real world was passing them by. Change, or at least the appearance of change, was needed — fast.

So as Deadline has reported, the Academy held a stealth Board of Governors meeting Thursday night, very much under the radar since they already had a BOG meeting scheduled for next Tuesday (which will still be taking place, I am told) and where it was thought the diversity issue would be front and center. Clearly time was of the essence, and although not all issues were addressed today (at least in the announcement following the meeting) after last week’s Oscar nominations brought about fierce rounds of 2015 Best Picturecriticism, a key component of the complaints was, and for my money it has been addressed in a very smart way. It is at least a promising start. Setting a moon shot-type goal of doubling the number of women and minority members by 2020 is a realistic and encouraging step forward considering the current demographic breakdown. Of course, the Academy didn’t — and likely won’t — provide the press with the raw numbers of women and non-white members currently in the organization, so I am not sure how many new members from those sectors we are talking about, but it’s historic in Oscarland. The board is looking to secure the future of the organization, not dwell on what it is, or was.

Following the lead of many other guilds and organizations, the Academy has also gotten rid of the “lifetime” clause and now will bring in new members for a 10-year period followed by a review. Their membership only gets renewed if they have been active during that time. Then, after three 10-year terms where they remain active, they get a lifetime invite.

This would have been a huge problem had it also applied to those who are already members, but the Academy has built in a lot of criteria that enables them to retain voting rights if they qualified under these terms during the course of their career. A quick check on IMDb of several older members I know who have not worked actively in years showed across the board they would still be eligible to vote based on their previous career work over the decades. One actor I know says her phone is ringing off the hook from nervous members of a certain age, and the Academy would be wise to reassure them of these changes. They might not get it just yet. Be sensitive.

Another longtime member just emailed me: “I believe the ENTIRE current membership should have a chance to voice their opinions before any major membership change … Why is the Board making such a major change so swiftly? Just for TV ratings? … Why does the Board believe the current membership is racist as a group? Many people mention age. Well those older member are Baby Boomers for God’s sake. That group out of all of the members have fought87th Academy Awards Nominations Announcement  harder for minority and women’s rights than any other.”

Clearly the Academy leaders might be getting blowback from its own members, and will have to further explain these changes — and why it felt the need to move so quickly to quiet the firestorm. Once they do, I personally think they will see these are smart changes that will have little effect on the current membership for the most part. But there seems to be some anger brewing anyway. A top male studio executive, and Academy member, also emailed a strong opinion: “I think the Board Of Governors has made an egregious error in judgment. And not even consulting the membership (have a meeting — let people be heard) is insulting.”

On the opposite side came a statement from Warner Bros Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara, who richly praised the move. “The changes made by AMPAS are a great step toward broadening the diversity and inclusivity of the Academy and, by extension, the industry,” he said. “Entertainment is a global business, and the content we produce and its creators need to reflect the diversity and different perspectives of the worldwide audience we serve. At Warner Bros, we’re committed to this goal, but there is more we must and will do.”

The Academy emphasizes it isn’t kicking out anyone (as Gregory Peck’s administration tried to do in 1970) and even if for some reason members don’t qualify under the new fairly inclusive guidelines, they can still be Emeritus Members with “all the privileges of membership, except voting.” If you talk to as many Academy members as I do, you know one of the “privileges” they really prize is getting all those free screeners. In order to cushion the blow for a current member who might be downgraded, Boone Isaacs addressed that concern in a letter sent to members today that explained the changes. While noting the changes won’t affect this year’s final voting, she said, “We have no reason to believe this will affect you receiving screeners.”

Academy of Motion Picture LogoThat part remains to be seen, however, as the Academy has steadfastly refused to get directly involved in the screener business (save for the cool set they send for Foreign Language, Shorts and Docs), and it is up to the studios to do that. I doubt distributors would keep non-voters on the list. What do they gain from that? I know one studio consultant who regularly combs the obits and immediately eliminates dead members from their Academy mailing list, just in case those screeners might fall into the hands of family members or others.

At any rate, opening the previously closed-door process of recruiting members is a very welcome move as is the addition of three new Governors from diverse backgrounds who will now join the overwhelmingly white board. The release didn’t indicate how the new members will be integrated into the board since the BOG is made up of three Governors each representing their own branch. Are these Governors-at-Large?

Between now and the next meeting Tuesday, I am certain the Academy will be hearing a large range of opinions (get ready, guys), but the board’s unanimous vote of approval for these changes means the ship has sailed. Let’s see now how they address further rule changes for the Oscar race itself (including that issue of going back to 10 firm Best Picture nominees). This is far from over.

  1. Congratulations in completely de-legitimizing yourself in one fell swoop Academy. In the future books will be written about Cheryl Boone Isaac’s destruction of an empire (it’ll be the book right next to the one about Jeff Zucker).

      1. It was taken seriously by many at one point, not anymore. And it was begun as a way to get out of paying talent. Get a hold of yourself.

        1. It was taken seriously by NO ONE who actually loves good movies. Since the beginning it never honored the true classics. Get a hold of yourself after slapping yourself.

          1. Yeah, you didn’t seem to refute anything I said, you just seem to want to argue. Get a hold of yourself after slapping yourself.

          2. Ah yes, the true classics like Ride Along 2, Barbershop and The Wedding Ringer. Get a hold of yourself.

    1. Now….
      Add a category for COMEDY. !!!!!!!!!!
      stop Descriminating against FUNNY people ……!!!!!!

    2. There are already quotas and affirmative action for white people. That’s why the nominations are so white in the first place. Jennifer Lawrence was nominated even though both Joy and her performance in it were garbage. Brooklyn was overrated garbage after I’d excitedly waited months to see it. Mad Max was fun, but certainly not best picture material. Affirmative action should only apply to mediocre white performances and movies, apparently. If we are all being honest, most of the movies this year were utter crap, and Creed/Beasts of No Nation/Straight Out of Compton could have taken any of the other spots. The only thing that kept those films out of those spots is the fact that the Academy will accept nothing but excellence from people of color, while backslapping each other for white mediocrity throughout the industry. If you don’t see that as blatant white affirmative action, you’re in denial.

      1. reality is Beasts would never have traction- its Netflix , not a studio film.Carol was better than Creed and it didn’t get a best pic or director. I guess this ladies directed themselves- lol. Creed wasn’t going to get a nomination. Black Mass was a good film- no nominations. It was actually a good year for acting

      2. So instead we should celebrate black mediocrity? And affirmative action is okay as long as it’s for blacks?

    3. Will smiths wife should be ashamed of herself.
      Will smith at the
      AGE of 20 YEARS OLD
      WON A GRAMMY in 1988
      for his extreme talent and iconic music.

  2. clearly the Academy is full of white supremacists because Will Smith didn’t get nominated for Concussion.

  3. and what if this goes the reverse with people looking to make sure Will Smith never gets another nomination ? You never know. They should have had 10 nominations this year. I’m surprised Carol and Star Wars weren’t nominated for best film.

  4. I really want someone to ask voters who are black/latino/asian if they ever voted for Will Smith or Straight Outta Compton or Creed. Coz even in the campaign stage, those names werent really coming up as frontrunners. They were always in the “maybe” list. Maybe Idris Elba but that Beasts of the Nation roll-out was just a failure.

  5. Congratulations Cheryl and Dawn. Action needed to be taken and you did! This is not only about black actors as Rampling, Caine and others have suggested, it will benefit ALL minorities and women. The industry can’t have it both ways… if nearly 50% of your box office revenues domestically are coming from black and brown audiences the Academy and the rest of Hollywood has just got to do a better job of reflecting that. The agencies, studios and networks all need to look at their own personnel and ask the same question. You can literally shoot a cannon down their hallways and not hit a POC unless it is an assistant. Chris Rock has mentioned that he can recall sitting in a meeting in town with a black male executive at the table. Michael Moore said he can take meetings all over town and not see a POC who isn’t in a service capacity i.e. security guard, driver, etc. It’s time Hollywood!

    1. Where is this 50% minority box office number coming from? According to the MPAA Annual Admissions survey, the breakdown is:
      63% caucasians, 18% Latino, 13% black, and 6% asian. 31% is not 50. As for limo, Uber drivers and security guards – there’s nothing wrong with anyone taking those jobs as long as they pay decently. And there’s all types working in those jobs.

      NO ONE went to the cinemas to see BEASTS. NO ONE (90k dom gross). The polite term we use (instead of flop) in distribution is “the pic didn’t open”. It’s a tough hill to climb in Awards season. I love Idris Elba, I’ve been following him since his start as a comic actor with Jennifer Saunders. But if minority films are not supported by a dedicated paying audience in the cinemas (not the ones like COMPTON or RIDE ALONG), you can have all the diversity programs you can imagine and nothing will change.

      1. Everyone got the screener for Beasts of No Nation at every branch. But most likely because of the subject matter, most didn’t watch it, despite critical raves. The truth is that unless their is a huge push to notice the work, no one pays attention. For example, Fox has been pushing Matt Damon and Leo D. before their movies were released. Netflix PR team needed to do more.

        1. Bingo. And nobody likes to back a perceived loser. Idris Elba is a great actor who will do many great things in the future. Love his work.

    2. No way is 50% of revenue coming from black and brown audiences. No way. And international audiences don’t care about diversity. The movie business is about making money and big global box office draws are the only people who earn their place in a movie.

    1. Clint Eastwood is still directing, plenty of people over 70 or 80 still work in the films. It should yes, be for people who make films and if in case you don’t know how to read, if you spend 30 years fruitfully working in business, you are part of it for life. Absolutely fair.

        1. Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and George Miller are also GREAT filmmakers in the seventy and up category. Their films this year were among the best in every way. Scorsese is not so shabby, either.

  6. Hollywood is comprised almost completely of liberals that are constantly lecturing America about racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. But they don’t really practice what they preach, do they?

    1. I was wondering how far down I’d have to scroll till I got to the first nitwit who saw this as an opportunity to launch a screed against all the liberal bogeymen your paranoiac daddy warned you about when you were two.

    2. Hollywood has never declared itself to be liberal. Conservatives declare Hollywood to be liberal and then claim hypocrisy whenever anything not liberal happens.

      1. They don’t HAVE to declare themselves “liberal”–sensible people can see it for themselves how liberal Hollywood is. It’s the people who don’t see that who are the problems. Whether naive or just a bald faced liar, disagreeing with that discredits anything else you have to say from here onward

    3. Nope, they don’t practice what they preach. Just look at Will Smith. He has never had a black director for one of his movies. He can’t ever give a brother a break but he stuffs his annoying children in his movies every change he gets.

  7. PART I:

    What constitutes “active?” A screen credit within a ten-year period? Ten screen credits? Or just a pay stub attesting to the claim that a member worked as much as one day during the decade? And how will this be determined and enforced? Will the Academy also hire the roomful of clerical workers it’ll take to police members who are to be subjected to the indignity of being treated like factory workers punching time cards?

    What no one is saying about this is that it’s all been precipitated by the lack of nominations IN THE ACTING CATEGORIES (and, perhaps, to a lesser degree, directing nominations) because:

    A: Most people in writing and the below-the-line disciplines don’t know who’s white or a minority because their members are not celebrities, and

    B: Nominations come from only those in the branch of that discipline; the full Academy membership only votes on the nominees presented to them on the final ballot. If there’s a dearth of minority ACTING nominees, then the problem lies within the ACTING BRANCH — NOWHERE else.

    But it doesn’t lie within the Acting Bench, or in the Academy as a whole, it’s the EXCLUSIVE fault of those who decide what films get made, how they’re funded, how they’re cast.

    1. You are exactly right. Further, it is fantasy to think that two short years after awarding ’12 Years a Slave’ Best Picture, that the same Academy membership has suddenly become a racist cabal.

      Truth is we get tons of screeners and there is no way that you can watch them all — and so you pick based on interests, based on things friends have said and even box office. So if you want a film to get noticed at awards time, you have to push it. Sorry but that is just the fact (one upon which Harvey Weinstein has built an empire).

      Finally, the ‘working in a decade’ nonsense: how is that going to be policed? And what constitutes ‘working’? If Cheryl Boone sent out a single press release for a film in the last decade, does that qualify her and does that make her opinion more valuable than an actor, writer, cinematographer, animator, composer etc. who put in decades in the business, earned their membership and suddenly has their voting rights taken away from them?

      So we throw away the hard earned opinions and expertise of people upon whose backs this industry has been built and sustained, to correct some imaginary, media-hyped wrong that has no bearing on reality. Classy!

      Dawn and Cheryl have to go — but they won’t, because that would be misogynistic and racist.

    2. (AVIETAR) < This is the best comment I have seen to date anywhere. This started with black acting nominations and now, the foundation of the Academy… it's oldest members, are the ones to pay, to be cast aside because they haven't had a screen credit in 10 years? And that makes them unable to judge a film? It's like the people who complain about the foreign film nominations – but who sits on the panels and sees 30 to 50 films to determines the final nominations? Not many people under 50 and mostly 60+. Why? because they care and feel it's their responsibility to give something back to the Academy they are a member of.
      These new rules will do more to turn member against member, actor against actor and race against race. And women will be effected the most because they get hired the least. I feel sorry for the next black actor who wins an Oscar…and the reason is obvious. The Academy is turning a once prestigious organization into just another bunch of people that has an award show once a year that is less about honoring the best and more about ratings. Best Picture of 2017? Ride Along 3. But hey, the TV ratings were through the roof.

      1. Great post. And I agree. The last thing anyone wants to see is Oscar nominations next year stacked with minority groups and women in an affirmative action push with everyone knowing half of them don’t deserve the nominations. Sack the head of the Academy. She should have defended the Academy’s record instead of caving in to a couple of bitter people with a chip on their shoulder who were angry they or their spouses weren’t nominated.

        1. “sack the head of the Academy. She should have defended the Academy’s record instead of caving in to a couple of bitter people with a chip on their shoulder who were angry they or their spouses weren’t nominated.”

          SACK the whole Board! Open up a REAL vote with discussions and see what happens.They acted within 72 hours as if something had destroyed the organization. Talk about a tail wagging a dog. Disgraceful

  8. PART II:

    This is, then, a HIRING PROBLEM, something over which the Academy has NO CONTROL, so not only will the Academy’s decision to turn its rules topsy-turvy have little or no practical effect, it stands to make the organization’s leadership appear weak, fearful and foolish (and, perhaps, doomed in favor of a slate of governors and officers less inclined to act as rashly as the current group has).

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have no memory of any criticisms that the Academy’s voters were nominating too many minority actors in 2001, when three of the twenty nominees — and two of the winners — were black; nor in 2003, when four nominees were either black, Asian or Latino or Pacific Islanders; nor six nominees in 2004; seven in 2006 (including two winners); three in 2008 (one winner); four in 2009 (one winner); three in 2011 (one winner); two in 2012; and three in 2013.

    The inescapable fact remains that minorities are called minorities because they comprise a smaller percentage of the population than the majority. Whether the percentages of those minorities employed in the various disciplines in which the Academy nominates mirror precisely those in the general population I will leave the the demographers, but it’s very hard to say that, in the Acting Branch, at least, they are under-represented merely because a couple of years have passed in which no minorities received nominations. The above statistics speak for themselves.

    1. Brilliant analysis, avietar. Your comments contain nuance and logic, things that are mostly jettisoned in favour of a PC, knee-jerk response. As a gay guy, I know what it’s like to be a minority, but I feel that the words “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic” and the weirdest “Islamophobic” are thrown around all to easily to shut down other people’s opinions. Your facts about the recent nominees in the Acting category show that the Smiths et al could much better devote their time to combatting actual, harmful instances of racism in our society.

    2. The inescapable fact remains that you really don’t like the “minorities” having a voice. I find it sad that you can somehow justify that only 2% of the academy are black and that’s somehow OK??? That doesn’t reflect their numbers in real life. End of story. Balance the scales to reflect society and then we have an even playing field.

      In the global population, cuacasians are a minority and soon enough in the states you’ll be a minority too. The biggest market is now CHINA. PLEASE LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE. The way it stands now is not acceptable. There has not been a black leading actor winner since Forrest Whittaker – not acceptable. Naming tiny numbers of ethnic winners does not even compare to the numerous white nominations over the years. Where is the conversation about white actors having to be good enough to be nominated?? There is none. So please don’t suddenly add a higher standard for ethnic actors to reach to be able to even be considered. I don’t believe Will Smith should be up, he wasn’t good. But don’t forget the bullshit way that Selma was ignored last year and now Beasts Of No Nation. Jennifer Lawrence in Joy – seriously??? Mad Max, best picture – wow, seriously?? I like them both, but Oscar worthy they are not. It’s time new voices flushed out the old. The Academy is dated and shameful.

      Bring on the changes.

      1. It’s amazing that you answer a thoughtful post with a rant. In the last twenty years the number of minority acting winners mirror the population demographics of the country. Will Smith became the biggest movie star on the planet and a crudely made film about slavery won an Academy Award. Spike Lee made a film that was completely ignored by ANY audience so he ranted and a bunch of has beens and never weres have taken up a bogus cause. Great directors like Steven Spielberg, Ridley and Tony Scott, among others, have made a number of black themed, important films. The Academy is not shameful, your uninformed comments are.

      2. It’s simply that no minority’s representation ought to be artificially disproportionate to its numbers in the ranks of those employed in the industry. As I’ve already written, this isn’t an Academy problem, but a production problem. I don’t think that anyone objects to programs that will guide minorities toward employment in the industry, and nurture their careers. When this happens, larger — and fully justified — representation in Academy membership and voter rolls will inevitably, and inexorably, follow.

    1. Isn’t there a word limit on comments.
      This is exhausting reading. Imagine writing these lengthy cmments have to be a bunch of execs or screenwriters.

      1. Sorry for you that your brain doesn’t extend that far.
        ‘ ” using only one word to describe an idea means you’re not working hard enough” ‘

  9. P.S. Sorry for the typo… I obviously meant to say Chris Rock mentioned that he CAN’T recall being in a meeting in town with another black male executive at the table. And how long has Rock been an A-list comic?! I think that pretty much sums up the problem.

  10. It’s kind of now ageist isn’t it — to say that somehow now older members are the reason for the lack of black nominees, which in itself is insane — these same people who they are getting rid of did they not also vote for past black oscar winners and nominees? They are now doing the wrong thing here — why do they have to exclude an age group in order to welcome diversity? Something doesn’t compute.

    1. And do they really think younger members are going to spend their time dutifully watching all the foreign films, shorts and documentaries? I don’t think so . The fact that they turned these new rules around so quickly is appalling. One actor goes on tape to complain and boom everything changes.

  11. It’s interesting how privileged people get very grumpy when you attempt to level the playing field and take away the advantage that they feel is obliged to them!

  12. Such strange defensiveness in some of those responses. The board says “We need a more diverse membership” and they respond by saying “Hey, we’re not racist!”

  13. The whole uproar about the all white Oscars is ridiculous and embarrassing. The Oscars has NEVER been a reflection of society because it’s a subjective award show. I never thought CRASH or KING’S SPEECH were great, but so be it, many people did. It’s SUBJECTIVE.

    The real goal should be increasing films and TV shows about minorities, so that the SELECTION POOL will be greater for the Academy to choose from when nominating for Oscars — if that’s your gold standard, which it shouldn’t be because again, it’s a freaking award show.

    And everyone nominated this year was first-rate. One of the best classes in years. No one NOT nominated was better.

    It’s funny though, here we are talking about the great ill of time — the lack of people of color nominated for an Oscar. I’d call that rich people problems, of all colors.

  14. I am not following Will Smith and company down this unpaved road and boycotting the Oscars because that’s not the whole answer. The answer lies more importantly in the corporate suites at the studios. Viola Davis said it best in her speech at The Emmys: You can’t be nominated for a role if you can’t get the job in the first place. The gay community in the early years of AIDS fought hard for a place at the table, the right to be counted when it comes to our health and how we die. Minorities and women in Hollywood are now doing the same because they are tired of not having a place at the table, tired of their voices not being heard.
    We need more minority women and men in the executive suites in Hollywood where the decisions on who to hire are being made–and not as “token” blacks, Latinos or women either. They will be on the front lines of greenlighting scripts and movie budgets, deciding who gets hired, how much money is spent on promotion and “for your consideration” ads. As it stands, most black people don’t watch the Oscars anyways already. For the most part, they don’t see themselves, so why bother?
    As for the new changes at The Academy, it’s about time there were some changes made. I see a lot of the carping as white people raising the alarm because their version of how the world works is dying. The leadership of the Academy is right in their actions. The policy changes aren’t perfect, but it’s a start. Give the leadership a chance to work out the details. It’s a new day in Hollywood, folks. Lead, follow or get out of the way.

  15. Instead of The Academy’s perception that voting is done on the basis of color, wouldn’t the better answer be for the executives that green light and cast films look at more diverse casting and films which hold minorities to Oscar worthy roles. The Oscars are not about excellence rather a commercial to get more attendance into theatre seats. Publicists are great at campaigning for certain actors

  16. Everyone needs to calm down and do the math. If you double 6% minority membership, that means adding 360 people of color to a 6000 person group, for a grand total of 720. If you also double the 23% female membership that means adding 1380 women. DO THE MATH! Minorities will go from being 6% of the membership to 9%. Women will go from being 23% to being 35%. We’d still be looking at 65% male. White membership drops from 94% to 91%. This hardly seems like enough to me.

    1. So lets just let everyone in, is that your solution? And when your favorite movie doesn’t get nominated, who do you blame then– you get 6000 people together and see what is the consensus of best performance.

      1. My solution would be the same as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s solution… gender parity. 50% male; 50% female. And racial inclusion that mirrors the actual US population, about 35%. Give me that, and I don’t really care who gets nominated or who wins.

        1. Um, blacks make up just 13% of the population which means the Oscars in recent years have been on par with the population considering 12.5% of the winners have been black.

  17. Most of the current members won’t care about the changes as long as they get their year end screeners and free screenings at the Academy throughout the year. It’s all they really care about.

    1. Actually most of my fellow AMPAS members with whom I have spoken about this in the last day, care much more about the privilege we have earned to nominate and vote for these awards than we do about the screeners or anything else.

        1. I earned that ‘privilege’ to be a voting member of the Academy through hard work, sacrifice, risk and enough talent to make my way in an industry in which I had no easy entree. If you want that same privilege, then work for it like I did instead of harping over some imagined injustice or because you think you are due something for nothing.

          1. Why do you assume that people of color or women have not earned the ‘privilege’ as well? Your comment clearly proves the point that you are a victim of White privilege and have never opened your eyes to the reality that others work, sacrifice, and risk as you have but the wall is much higher and there’s a glass ceiling above it JUST BECAUSE of the pigment of their skin or the fact that they have ovaries. Why is leveling the playing field so threatening to so many White people?

          2. The comment below by Privilednomore is asinine. First, you don’t know my race or gender. Second, what the Academy is proposing is not a leveling of the playing field as you suggest, but rather is the penalizing of people (who have earned a certain stature within an industry), for nothing more than a symbolic panacea for a problem over which the Academy has no control.

            If you are upset about the number of movies written by, produced by, directed by, starring, or staffed by a more diverse group of people, then look to the studio heads and executives to redress your problems, not an organization that exists to honor the excellence in, preserve and promote film.

            If you want to level the playing field, don’t boycott the Oscars or cheer the taking away of earned rights of people who have distinguished themselves within their profession, boycott all of the movies the studios make.

            Go out and make ’50 Shades of Black’ the biggest grossing film of the year. That would send the message you want to the people who CAN change things.

            If ‘Chi-raq’ made 200 million dollars, then next year the studios would make 2-3 more films like it. This is after all, a business.

            So get off of your moral high-horse and let go of the mis-directed anger or envy you have at those of us who have earned whatever success and recognition we have — not because someone gave it to us or because of ‘white privilege’ as you say, but because we worked hard and sacrificed and distinguished ourselves enough to be invited to participate in a great organization. The sudden purging of the older members who also earned their membership is not going to suddenly result in the studios making 20 more big movies each year starring, directed by, written by, produced by whatever ethnic group you (or anyone else), favors.

            Good luck.

  18. The real problem is the lack of diversity in black filmmakers’ storytelling. We can’t keep telling the same stories with the same characters. I don’t care if I don’t see any black people in a movie as long as the story and characters are great. We can have a predominantly black cast in a movie as long as the movie is great.

      1. Do we need to tie box office to the awards? Weren’t there some kind of stats indicating 14-year-old boys were the major ticket buyers? The husband says, “The day we have to worry about what the soda-guzzling young kids, mindless idiots and robots…everything depends on them…the point being we can’t get decent movies, and they don’t even know what they want!”

    1. Dude! Kevin Hart is already a member!!! Cheryl Boone invited him to join last year. Would love to see what his ballot looked like.

      I think the Academy should publish an audit of their ballots to show that minority members tend to nominate more minorities. I think that would be interesting to see. What would the nominees be like if only minority members’ ballots would count. Something tells me that the nominees would not be all that different.

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