We know you’ve probably blocked this year’s super controversial and tense Oscars from your memory, but it looks like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t. They actually responded to the outrage in a progressive and constructive way. They are making the Oscars less white.
For those of you with that memory block still firmly in place, here’s a refresher: there were no actors of colour nominated in the main performance categories of the Academy Awards this year, and there were several movies with non-white leads that were passed over for the best picture nomination. Chris Rock hosted the awards show, and wasn’t playing any games when it came to letting everyone know that this kind of systematic discrimination is not okay. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite trended the entire week and we all lost a little (or a lot of) respect for the Academy.
Fast-forward to this week. That same Academy is now selecting the new voting class inductees (the people who vote for the Oscar nominations and winners) for the coming year and THEY LISTENED TO US. That’s right, folks, the Academy just made offers to the most diverse group of voting inductees in its history. Offers have been made to a lot of our faves, like Idris Elba, John Boyega, Michael B. Jordan, America Ferrara, Oscar Isaac, Daniel Dae Kim and Ice Cube.
The new group of 683 people is 46% female (also wildly underrepresented in film) and 41% people of colour, and includes the youngest member ever (John Boyega). To give you an idea of how disproportionate the representation was before: if everyone invited this year accepts their position, the voting body of the Academy will be 27% female and 11% people of colour.
So, we are nowhere near where we should be, but this is amazing progress. If we keep demanding it, eventually, there will be a time when the Academy reflects the society it represents.