Oscar organisers announce plans to double female and minority voters

The Academy reacts to #Oscarssowhite backlash

Organisers of the Oscars have announced plans to double the number of female and minority members of the Academy.

The move, which will come into full effect by 2020, comes amid a backlash over this year’s nominations.

For the second consecutive year, all 20 acting nominees at the Oscars are white, which has prompted criticism from actors including George Clooney, Reese Witherspoon and Will Smith, who has announced he will be boycotting the awards ceremony next month (February).

As BBC News reports, academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has confirmed that three new seats will be added to the Academy’s board of governors in a bid to improve the diversity of the panel.

Boone Isaacs said the new measures will “begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition. The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up.”

The New York Times states that the Academy’s governing board held an emergency meeting on Thursday (January 21) as more actors announced that they would boycott the awards. It is understood that in addition to the new members, there will also be a move to review the voting status of new and current members every 10 years. As such, anyone who hasn’t been involved in the film industry for a decade could have their voting status revoked.

One anonymous Academy member who could stand to lose their right to vote expressed dismay at the planned changes. “The notion of having my academy vote taken away from me because of age, and inactivity in the industry, is outrageous,” he said.