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Arts and Entertainment

Just How Many Oscar Voters Are Old White Men?

Oscars via Featureflash /
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Who decides who wins the little gold men at the Oscars? It turns out it's mostly old, white men.

This fact alone isn't earth-shattering if you've ever paid attention to which movies get nominated or you happened to notice what a big effing deal it was for a black women to win a Best Actress award in the 21st century.

But the Los Angeles Times conducted a recent study to figure out just HOW white and old and male the Academy really is. The actual figures themselves are pretty stunning (although it does not break down how many of these members are old, white and male):

  • 94% are white
  • 2% are black
  • < 2% are latino
  • 77% were male
  • 62 years old is the median age
  • 14% are under 50 years old

The figures the Times came up with aren't perfect, but the reporters said they confirmed the identities of 5,100 members—or 89 percent of voting members. It did this by investigating old rosters and the names of nominees to the Academy which have been public since 2004 (and you can read about their methodology here).But the Academy itself would not confirm the identities of its 5,765 current voting members. In all likelihood, the Times guesses that the identities of the people it couldn't confirm are older, white males, so it predicts these numbers are actually generous.

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The article discusses how the Academy's membership compares to the rest of Hollywood, and it rehashes the critiques that has been lobbed at the Oscars over the years for its lack of diversity. But it's the stats themselves (that took a lot of legwork) that are most revealing.