LIFESTYLE | MOVIES

Hurrah, the Academy to increase diversity for future Oscars

Michelle Baltazar

One brave woman stepped up, the rest of the World listened. The Oscars is finally catching up to the modern era.

In an amazing turn of events, the big-wigs behind the Oscars have announced what can only be described as a historic move in the world of film and entertainment. In a nutshell, they are doing a root-and-branch restructure of their membership base to include more women and more individuals from diverse backgrounds (read: not white).

More specifically, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Board) is aiming to double the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.

First cab of the rank? Diversity on the board itself. Immediately. The Academy announced it will establish three new governor seats that will be nominated by the President for three-year terms and confirmed by the Board.

Jada and Will Smith

Then beginning later this year, the Academy will launch an global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.  

And finally, the Academy will also take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not Governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made. This will allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making and help the organisation identify and nurture future leaders, it said in its press statement.

The timing may just be coincidental but the milestone announcement came after actor Jada Pinkett-Smith's said she will boycott this year's Oscars due to its lack of diversity. The comment sparked a global social-media debate and other actors, including Jada's husband, Hollywood heavyweight Will Smith, endorsed her decision.

What else can be said at this point except, "Jada Pinkett-Smith, you rock!"

Oh, and the change came while a woman, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, is at the helm. Double-Yay!

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