The Academy has learned its lesson from getting dragged for being so monotone, so the film organization is doing something about its glaring diversity problem. About 46 percent of new members of its voting body are people of color, but that still might not be enough to make a huge difference just yet.
Society as a whole made the good people behind The Oscars take a hard look at their nomination and voting process when the field of nominees this year was entirely White this year.
The 2015 Oscars were looking really beige, so April Reign coined the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. The label has followed The Academy ever since, coming back with a vengeance when the 2016 Oscars proved to be even Whiter.
Everyone from Anthony Anderson to James Cordon rightly harped on The Academy for its lack of diversity. Franchesca Ramsey even made a nail tutorial about it.
So, it was with great pride that The Academy unveiled the new class of its voting body. It’s welcomed 638 new members; people of color make up 46 percent of that total while women account for 41 percent. Of course there is definitely some overlap in these stats.
The organization made a huge deal of highlighting how diverse the rookie members are on its Web site, prominently featuring the names of its Browner members on the roster. Anika Noni Rose, Chadwick Boseman, America Ferrera, James Hong, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, Ice Cube, Gabrielle Union, Nate Parker, and John Boyega are all among the incoming class.
This all sounds really great, but don’t get too excited. While progress is always a great thing, this move might not mean much in the way of significant change for The Academy right now. According to a chart from The Academy (via LoveBScott.com), the new class has only accounted for a 2-3 percent increase in the voting body’s overall diversity.
Hopefully, The Academy will continue to be this inclusive with all of its new members, so that these numbers can become more equitable and more accurately reflective of the population.