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Arts and Entertainment

Academy Members Who Vote For The Oscars Really Are So White

Oscars via Featureflash /
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Given that Hollywood as a whole has been statistically proven to be a "straight, white boys club", the fact that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is over 90% white is, unfortunately, not shocking.

A report by the L.A. Times found the following Academy membership statistics that prove that the numbers don't lie: the Academy is staggeringly comprised of old, white men:

  • 91% white
  • 3% Black
  • over 2% Asian
  • over 2% Latino
  • 76% male

The Times' report also detailed membership statistics within different branches of the Academy, and found that the branches with the most power in determining who's nominated for Oscars, and who wins, were by far the least diverse:

The executive branch, which finances the movies and determines what films warrant an awards campaign, is 98% white. The public relations branch, which strategizes those awards campaigns, is 95% white.
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This year's lily-white nominations has reignited the #OscarsSoWhite discussion, and prompted calls for an Oscar boycott from stars like Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Spike Lee.

"It's not the academy—it's what the academy represents," Jennifer Warren, a 74-year-old actress, director, Academy member, and chair of the Alliance of Women Directors told the Times. "At least they recognize there's a problem. And at least they're embarrassed. I think that's the only thing that will get movement in this industry is to embarrass individuals who are seen to have never hired a person of color or have never hired a woman."

President Obama has even weighed in on the #OscarsSoWhite issue, saying,

I think that California is an example of the incredible diversity of this country. That's a strength I think that when everybody's story is told, then that makes for better art, it makes for better entertainment, it makes everybody feel part of one American family. I think as a whole, the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, and provide opportunity to everybody. I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue of are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?

Can't we just get Obama to issue some kind of Executive Order to fix this?

But hey, at least pathetic little baby steps have been made since 2012, when the Academy membership stats were 94% white, 2% black, less than 2% Latino, and 77% male. And steps are being made to make the Academy more inclusive. Last month, President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced they would aim to double the number of women and diverse members by 2020.

Planning on boycotting the Oscars yourself? April Reign, creator of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, has called for people to join her in live-tweeting the 1999 film The Wood, starring Omar Epps and Taye Diggs and streaming on Netflix now.

Sounds like a plan to me.

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