6:15 pm EST, January 22, 2016

The Academy changes membership rules to promote Oscar diversity

The Academy of Motion Pictures has announced that changes to the voting and recruitment for the Academy will help improve the diversity and double the people of color and women included by 2020.

In an emergency meeting Thursday night, the board approved the changes, which are set to improve diversity at the Oscars over the next four years. They also met with Chris Rock, who is hosting the Oscars, and confirmed that he will host despite being urged to boycott the show as well.

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Rock reportedly believes he can do more good by hosting the Oscars since its reach is so wide. The Academy’s new membership changes were announced earlier today, and Academy President Cheryl Isaacs said, “The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up. 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 will begin later this year, and each new member’s voting status will now last 10 years, and will be renewed only if the new member has been active in film during the previous decade. This is done so Academy members who are no longer involved in film won’t be voting on films if they haven’t been active in the community in over a decade.

Members will also receive lifetime voting rights after three 10-year terms, or if/when they’ve been nominated for an Oscar. These changes will be applied retroactively to the current members, which means any member who hasn’t been active in the last 10 years might lose their vote, but they could meet some other criteria, such as having been nominated or winning an award.

Those who no longer qualify will be moved to emeritus status, and while emeritus members do not pay dues, they will enjoy all the privileges of membership, except for being able to vote. These changes will not go into effect for 2016’s voting, which means we won’t see the changes in action until next year.

It was also announced that some changes would be happening in the Academy’s management, which would give seats to new members in hopes of increasing diversity as well. Overall, it seems like these are solid improvements that will hopefully increase the Academy’s diversity problem over the next few years.

The hope is to double the amount of people of color and women in the Academy by 2020.

Are you happy to see the Academy making positive changes to improve diversity?

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