Arts & Entertainment

Hollywood diversity: Academy pledges to double number of minority, female members

In this file photo, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs speaks at the Oscars Foreign Language Film Award Reception February 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. On Friday, Isaacs announced the film academy is pledging to double the number of female and minority members by 2020, and will immediately diversify its leadership by adding three new seats to its board of governors.
In this file photo, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs speaks at the Oscars Foreign Language Film Award Reception February 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. On Friday, Isaacs announced the film academy is pledging to double the number of female and minority members by 2020, and will immediately diversify its leadership by adding three new seats to its board of governors.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Poll | Awards Tracker

The film academy is pledging to double the number of female and minority members by 2020, and will immediately diversify its leadership by adding three new seats to its board of governors.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the changes Friday, following a weeklong storm of criticism and calls for an Oscar boycott after academy members nominated an all-white slate of actors for the second year in a row.

"The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up," she said in a statement.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 51-member board of governors unanimously approved a series of reforms late Thursday to "begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition," Isaacs said. The number of minorities currently serving as members of the academy has not been revealed.

Other changes include limiting members' voting status to a period of 10 years, to be extended only if the individual remains active in film during that decade. Lifetime voting rights will be granted only to Academy Award nominees and winners, and to members after three ten-year voting terms. Previously, all active members received lifetime voting rights.

The organization also plans to diversify its leadership beyond the board of governors by adding new members to key decision-making committees, and further diversify its membership with a global campaign to identify and recruit diverse talent.

Reaction came swiftly. Ava DuVernay, director of last year's best picture-nominee "Selma," tweeted that the changes were "one good step in a long, complicated journey for people of color and women artists." She added: "Shame is a helluva motivator."

And director Rick Famuyiwa, whose films include "The Wood" and "Brown Sugar," commented: "The devil is in the details."

Cameron Bailey, artist director of the Toronto International Film Festival, called it "impressive, bold action" and tweeted, "studios you're next."

KPCC's John Horn, host of "The Frame," reacted on Twitter:

John Horn tweet 1

John Horn tweet 2

John Horn tweet 3

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith had no immediate reaction to the Film Academy's reforms announced Friday.

Both had pledged not to attend the Oscars this year. Idris Elba, who was not nominated for his role in Netflix' critically acclaimed "Beasts of No Nation," also had no immediate response.

Poll on the decision

KPCC's online polls are not scientific surveys of local or national opinion. Rather, they are designed as a way for our audience members to engage with each other and share their views. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page, or in the comments below.

This story has been updated.