The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors voted on Sunday to reclassify the membership status of Artists’ Representatives and now will allow them to vote like other active members. Previously they were Associates without those privileges. Now they have been moved into Members-at-Large, a catchall for voting members without a specific branch of their own.
The Academy is composed of 17 branches, for the crafts ranging from Actors to Writers, and two membership status categories, Members-at-Large and Associates, to accommodate individuals whose work in the motion picture industry is not specific to one of the branches. The reclassification applies to those agents who already are Associates in AMPAS and to those who will be invited to join the Academy this year. That annual list of new members will be released Tuesday.
This has been a goal of agents for decades, and many attempts have been made in the past to get them a vote. There was strong opposition over the years from some members of the Academy who felt it was a profession not integrally involved in the actual making of motion pictures. But many in the profession have pointed to the fact that agents and agencies are intimately involved in making movies happen, particularly in getting them off the ground in the first place. Many have been involved in leading the charge and now it is finally coming to fruition.
There currently are 111 agents in the Academy, not counting those who will be admitted with Tuesday’s new member list. How it ultimately will affect the outcome of Oscar races is anyone’s guess but it has been a long time in coming.