EXCLUSIVE: It will soon cost a little more to vote for the Oscars – $100 a year more in Academy membership dues beginning this fall, which will generate more than $800,000 in additional revenue this year alone for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Emails sent this week to Academy members notified them that the Board of Governors has voted to raise the annual dues of voting members from the current $350 to $450 “to bring you more benefits and programs.” The annual membership dues for Associate members will remain unchanged at $350, while Emeritus members will still pay no dues at all.
“We have not increased annual dues since 2015,” the Academy said in the email. “After careful consideration, the Board decided to take this step to ensure that high-quality programming is available both locally and to the many areas that now count themselves as part of the Academy. The increase only applies to voting members.”
Last year, membership dues totaled $2.28 million, which was up only slightly from $2.16 million the year before, according to the Academy’s latest financial report.
As of December 2017, the Academy had 7,258 voting members, with more than 900 new members invited to join this year. “With the addition of the new members this year, the voting members would be 8,176,” an Academy spokesman told Deadline.
Membership dues represent just a fraction of the revenue the Academy generates. Last year, it took in more than $147 million, with nearly $123 million coming from the Academy Awards and related activities.
“The Academy has evolved into an inclusive, global organization representing more than 61 countries,” the Academy said in its email explaining the need for the dues hike. “Our members connect through programs, screenings, festival gatherings, mentorship opportunities, and especially when voting for the Oscars, the Student Academy Awards, and Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. We want to give you more opportunities to connect with us and other members in your city and around the world.
“We continue to evolve the Academy through new initiatives, including the mail-house screeners program launched over the summer, and increased member events, screenings, and branch gatherings in the Bay Area, New York, and Europe. We’re also engaging partners to create film initiatives that connect our members in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.”