UNITED STATES—Wow, that’s the only word I can say to describe what the Oscar nominations has done to the Hollywood industry in the last 2 weeks. I can’t remember the last time there was so much debate about the diversity issue in the ranks.
I mean it’s an issue of a lack of African-Americans or minorities in general not getting recognized, but the focus should also be on the lack of women getting notable attention in some of the major categories like Best Director.
I mean in the Academy’s history only four women have been nominated for the top prize, one, Kathryn Bigelow won the award for the “The Hurt Locker” in 2010. The 2016 nominees has caused so much outrage, I’m starting to wonder what the red carpet will look like next month. Will many minorities who have showed up to the ceremony in past years appear on the scene, will they stay at home, could we see a protest take place on Hollywood’s biggest night?
With names like Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee already making it known they will not attend this year’s ceremony, could we see other big-time names back out as presenters at the ceremony as well? I don’t know, but my suspicion is telling me it’s very possible. I mean to have all these celebrities telling Chris Rock to back down from hosting the ceremony is atrocious in my opinion.
I mean would boycotting really create more diversity in the Oscar race? No. People are still not grasping the concept that the Academy is like an elite membership, it has been so for years; nothing is going to change overnight. It starts with the establishment; it begins with HOLLYWOOD. It starts with the movie execs, the studio heads, the writers, the directors and so much more to really implement change in the industry. I mean the Academy of Motion Picture Arts of Sciences made a game-changing decision on Friday, January 22 in response to the entire backlash that has been received since the nominations were announced on January 16.
The notion of members of the Academy having lifetime voting privileges are now up for grabs because the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved new changes to help increase diversity by doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.
“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “These New measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”
The new rules intact identify that each member’s voting status will last 10 years and their membership will be renewed if they have been active in the industry during that decade. Members will receive life-time voting rights after three 10-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.
If a member hasn’t been active for the past 10 years, they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria. Members whose status does not qualify them as active will be moved to emeritus status. Those who have emeritus status will not pay dues, but still enjoy all the privileges of membership, except the ability to vote. These changes are not expected to impact voting for year’s ceremony.
I mean a load of industry insiders have responded to the news including Matt Damon, Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Clint Eastwood, Charlotte Rampling, Ice Cube, Nick Cannon, Steve McQueen, Michael Caine, Reese Witherspoon and a host of others. I must say it’s nice to see those who are advocating for and those against the new rules that have been implemented.
Some are being completely honest with the factoid that it appears the new rules might be targeting the older members of the academy versus the younger ones. Just to be honest, the new changes are not going to happen overnight. It just is not going to happen quickly. It’s going to take a decade at most to see a tinge of change taking place.
I think the results of the Oscar ‘controversy’ will be determined by what takes place on February 28. If the ratings strike gold that will really be a sign for the Academy, if a boycott takes place and a number of celebrities are no-shows to the event that will be a major telling point. Hate to say it, but the 2016 Academy Awards might be one of the most interesting to this date.