In response to #OscarsSoWhite Academy makes good on promise to make changes

Reginald Hudlin, Gregory Nava and Jennifer Yuh Nelson join the Academy's Board of Governors

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had an unusual morning session on Tuesday to tackle a number of issues related to the intense public backlash following a second consecutive year of all-white acting nominees. The #OscarsSoWhite controversy led to a number of changes AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced in January. This board met to formally implement some of these changes.

[Please note: This is a write-through of an Academy press announcement.]

Three new seats were added to the 51-seat board effective immediately and will be filled by Reginald Hudlin (Directors Branch), Gregory Nava (Writers Branch) and Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Short Films and Feature Animation Branch). Each board seat lasts initially for three years.

The Board also appointed additional Academy members to each of the six Board committees that provide oversight to specific Academy areas.

– Actor Gael García Bernal (“Y Tu Mama Tambien,” “No”) joins the Awards and Events Committee, chaired by First Vice President Jeffrey Kurland.
– Cinematographer Amy Vincent (“Hustle & Flow”) joins the Preservation and History Committee, chaired by Vice President John Bailey.
– Producer Effie Brown (best known for her indie film work and sparring with Matt Damon on “Project Greenlight”) joins the Museum Committee, chaired by Vice President Kathleen Kennedy.
– Executive Marcus Hu (Strand Releasing) and Animator Floyd Norman (“Monsters, Inc.”) join the Education and Outreach Committee, chaired by Vice President Bill Kroyer.
– Executive Vanessa Morrison (20th Century Fox Animation) joins the Finance Committee, chaired by Treasurer Jim Gianopulos.
– Producer Stephanie Allain (“Dear White People”) joins the Membership and Administration Committee, chaired by Secretary Phil Robinson.

The Board also reaffirmed its January 21 resolution to make sure Academy voters are active in the motion picture industry. In the meeting, the Board decided that each branch executive committee will determine specific criteria for active voters based on the guidelines established in January. Active voters are defined as:

– those who have worked in the motion picture industry in the last 10 years;
– those who have worked anytime during three 10-year periods whether consecutive or not;
– members who have won or been nominated for an Oscar®.

The branch executive committees will meet every two years—starting this spring—to review their members and determine any potential reclassifications. The committees also will adopt an appeals process for members who may lose their voting privileges.

These changes were made without the general membership weighing in and it’s unclear if there will be continued efforts from some to battle the new membership rules. Moreover, we’re still awaiting word if The Academy will bring back Hudlin and David Hill to produce the 89th Academy Awards next year.

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With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios, has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times and co-founded HitFix, Inc. serving as its first Editor-in-Chief and President. Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.
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