UPDATED with Kevin Tsujihara statement: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors has unanimously approved “substantive changes designed to make the Academy’s membership, its governing bodies, and its voting members significantly more diverse,” following a vote Thursday night. The goal, according to AMPAS, is to double the number of women and minority members of the Academy by 2020.
“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up.” — AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
Among the key changes approved, AMPAS will increase the governing board with three new members to be named by the President and approved by the board in order to “allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making,” according to the organization, “and help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.”
“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” said AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”
Early tonight, Warner Bros Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara issued a statement on the Acacemy’s moves: “The changes being made by AMPAS are a great step toward broadening the diversity and inclusivity of the Academy and, by extension, the industry. 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.”
Here is the rest of the Academy’s release:
Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade. In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award. We will apply these same standards retroactively to current members. In other words, if a current member has not been active in the last 10 years they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria. Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status. Emeritus members do not pay dues but enjoy all the privileges of membership, except voting. This will not affect voting for this year’s Oscars.
At the same time, the Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.
In order to immediately increase diversity on the Board of Governors, the Academy will establish three new governor seats that will be nominated by the President for three-year terms and confirmed by the Board.
The Academy will also take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not Governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made. This will allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making and help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.
Along with Boone Isaacs, the Board’s Membership and Administration Committee, chaired by Academy Governor Phil Robinson, led the efforts to enact these initiatives.
The announcement came shortly after news broke of the latest screen figure to join the raging debate on the issue of diversity and the lack of non-Caucasian nominees in the acting categories for two years running. In Paris, Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (for 45 Years) told a radio interviewer that the controversy “is racist to whites.”