Media reports swirled this afternoon that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is dissolving a rule in place since 2004 that created quotas to keep membership to minimum numbers and the eligible voting body to 5800-6000 members. Sources within the Academy have confirmed this to Deadline, but noted it really is old news since this change was voted by the Board Of Governors in October. The source also called it “non-news” because any changes that might come about because of it are still a work in progress. Conceivably, without the limit on new members in each of the 15 branches affected, these branches could open the floodgates and admit more members than ever before. But that is not likely to happen based on conversations I have had today with Acad insiders, including those most affected by the relaxation of rules.
An Academy source told me the change was enacted in October in order to be more “inclusive” and pave a path for admittance to industry members who have an impressive body of work but for whatever reason have not been granted membership. It’s a way to “open the ranks”, I am told, but it was also emphasized that it in no way will lessen the existing professional criteria that has always applied in bringing in new members. This rule change is just the first part of a process that will accelerate in May, when each branch meets to determine which new members of those who have applied will be granted entry into this most exclusive club; the application process closed several weeks ago, and there can be no more new applications for 2013 beyond those already processed. The recommendations will then go to the general membership committee and then to the Board for final approval. The Academy expects to release a list of those accepted for membership by mid-June, I am told. Last year, 176 members were admitted, and that number is fairly close to the norm for the past decade. (more…)