Following an awards ceremony where zero actors of color had been recognized for the second year in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced Wednesday that three new governors would be joining the Academy’s Board:
- Reginald Hudlin (Directors Branch)
- Gregory Nava (Writers Branch)
- Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Short Films and Feature Animation Branch)
Additionally, the Board also appointed new Academy members to each of the six committees “that provide oversight to specific Academy areas.
- Actor Gael García Bernal, the Awards and Events Committee
- Cinematographer Amy Vincent, the Preservation and History Committee
- Producer Effie Brown, the Museum Committee
- Executive Marcus Hu and Animator Floyd Norman, the Education and Outreach Committee
- Executive Vanessa Morrison, the Finance Committee
- Producer Stephanie Allain, the Membership and Administration Committee
Isaacs – who has presided over the the Academy as the first African American and just the third female president in its history – gave a dispirited official statement following the year’s Oscars nominations, following that with an impassioned speech at the ceremony itself affirming her commitment to increasing diversity within the Academy’s ranks.
“Inclusion only serves to make us all stronger, and it’s important that the members of the Academy and everyone in this room help deliver that message… It’s not enough to just listen and agree. We must take action.”
The NY Times first reported that the Academy planned to “enact measures aimed at making its Oscar choices more diverse,” including possible increases of 10 nominated films for for Best Picture and increasing the number of acting nominees from 5/category to 8-10.
The Academy confirmed this report shortly thereafter: It’s goal is to double the number of female and diverse members of the Academy by 2020. Women will comprise 48% of the tital membership; diverse groups will make up 14% as well.
While many have applauded these changes, still others have cautioned the public against thinking these measures are enough.
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) January 22, 2016
“I’m proud of the steps we have taken to increase diversity,” Isaacs said in a statement on Wednesday. “However, we know there is more to do as we move forward to make this a more inclusive organization.”