Academy steps back on member invitations, seeks equity and inclusion
The organization has grown its ranks since 2015 from 6,446 to 9,362 voting members.
Having achieved its 2020 goal of doubling the number of women and people of color among its membership, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is slowing in the future. The organization is now withdrawing invitations for new members because the Board of Governors deemed its recent annual growth of nearly 10 percent as unsustainable.
Clearly, the Academy is trying to serve its burgeoning ranks by not continuing its recent accelerated growth rate. To that end, in June 2021, this year’s membership growth will be limited to about half that of recent years. Prior to this change, the Academy’s Board of Governors voted on branch-specific guidelines to apply in determining this year’s new guest members. Oscar winners and nominees will be considered without limitation by the relevant branches.
“As we envision the Academy’s future growth and goals, we must evolve appropriately so that we can continue to provide the personal service our members expect and appreciate,” said Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy. Academy. “We remain focused on creating a membership group that reflects our diverse film community and the world around us.”
In June 2020, the Academy invited 819 artists and executives from 68 countries, including Awkwafina, Cynthia Erivo and Ari Aster. The organization has grown its ranks since 2015 from 6,446 to 9,362 voting members. The pace of change increased as the Academy sought to meet its diversity goals. In 2015, Academy membership was around 25% female and, as of 2020, 33%, while people from under-represented ethnic / racial communities fell from 10% to 19% .
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Since 2015, the branches have stepped up their outreach to those eligible to become members of the Academy, who have been voted on by the Board of Governors. People from under-represented ethnic / racial communities made up 36% of 2020 invitations, with women scoring 45%, as the Academy continued to grapple with its long-term dominance of white men. Seven of the 17 branches invited more women than men, and many new members (49%) were living abroad. In a controversial turn, the Academy Council voted to allow 26 member officers at large to vote, after decades of resistance to the change.
Last year demanded many adjustments as the Academy responded not only to the pandemic, pushing the worldwide broadcast of the ABC Oscars from February 28 to a safe but low-rated and controversial Oscars held on April 25, 2021 – but the urgency des Black Lives Movement of matter. After surpassing its 2020 targets, the Academy has moved on to a new diversity initiative for the next five years, Aperture 2025, which will use Oscar eligibility as a wedge to encourage Hollywood producers and executives to follow the standards. inclusion set by the Academy, or will not risk being eligible for the Academy Awards.
“We want to make it clear that diversity and inclusion are not just a set of goals or initiatives in the Academy now,” the Academy said in a press release. “It’s a part of the fabric and an organic component of what we strive to achieve in everything we do. Membership selection decisions will continue to be based on professional qualifications, with representation, inclusion and equity remaining a priority. The Academy is committed to advancing its Aperture 2025 initiative, pursuing its goals of increasing equity and inclusion in stories told through films, raising different voices within the leadership of the Academy and to provide opportunities to amplify those voices across multiple industry sectors. “