The Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs is frustrated about the diversity problem that’s plaguing Hollywood, which was reflected in the Oscar nominations for the second year in a row. If #OscarsSoWhite hashtag trending wasn’t embarrassing enough, Isaacs, who’s black, had to give a statement in the midst of a boycott which is happening due to the whitewashed nominations.
The Academy president is now rolling out a plan that will not wait for the industry to catch up. According to the Hollywood Reporter, in order to rectify this for years to come, there will be three additional seats added to the board of governors. Additionally, “individual members’ voting rights will be reviewed every ten years to determine if they have remained active in the business.”
In order to promote diversity, the Academy plans to diversify by doubling the number of women and “diversify members” by 2020. If members aren’t active after they are reevaluated, their right to vote will be revoked.
So, how will these new members get to be a part of the Academy? Well, that won’t really change too much. You still need to be sponsored by someone who’s already a part of the committee, but the Academy plans to launch a new system too.
In a statement, Cheryl Boone Isaacs said, “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”
This isn’t the first time that Cheryl Boone Isaacs has made a statement. While the president made a statement last year, this year she seemed a bit more frustrated with the situation at hand when the nominations were announced.
“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”
— Variety (@Variety) January 21, 2016
The latest person to weigh in on the boycott is actor and nominee Mark Ruffalo, who has stood in solidarity with those that choose to boycott but has decided, since he’s nominated for Spotlight, that he will go to the ceremony.
The actor, who’s no stranger as an advocate for all kinds of issues, told BBC Breakfast that the nominations were indicative of America. Ruffalo said that the entire American system is “rife with white privilege racism. It goes into our justice system.”
Following the interview, Ruffalo tweeted to combat confusion on whether or not he would take part in the boycott.
To clear up any confusion. I will be going to the Oscars in support of the victims of clergy Sexual Abuse and good journalism. #Spotlight
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) January 21, 2016
Ruffalo isn’t the only nominee speaking up. Actress Brie Larson, who’s poised to take home the award for Best Actress for Room, spoke up in an Instagram post.
Thank you @hollywoodreporter for covering this very unique moment in my life! It was wonderful spending time with all of you. Personally, I’m interested in reading their article on #OscarsSoWhite. This is a conversation that deserves attention.
A photo posted by Brie (@brielarson) on
Black actors who were snubbed such as Will Smith and Idris Elba have spoken out about the inequality that faces the Oscars. During his speech, Elba said, “My agent and I, we’d get scripts and we were always asked to read the ‘black male’ character. Or ‘the athletic type.’ But when a script called for a ‘black male,’ it wasn’t describing a character. It was describing a skin color.”
What do you think about the new plans? Do you think it will make a difference?
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]