Target: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs
Goal: Applaud efforts to increase diversity among Academy of Motion Picture members.
After a second year where no people of color where nominated for acting awards at the Academy Awards, the President of the Academy has announced vast changes to the voting pool that will be put in place in upcoming years. There was widespread backlash over the lack of inclusion of any actors who are not white, and even ForceChange petitioned for more Native American inclusion. The reason for this is, despite great performances from diverse actors, much of the Academy’s registered voters are older, white men.
Isaacs, along with Academy Governor Phil Robinson, announced a new plan to add three new governor chairs in order to seek out people of all races to become new voters and to change the lengths and qualifications of membership. Anyone who has been nominated for an Award will now get a lifetime membership to vote, opening the door for older actors of color whose memberships may have expired.
Many older members have bemoaned the upcoming changes, as have many people on the internet. But, the new changes were voted on and passed unanimously. They plan to double the number of women and members of color by 2020. Let Cheryl Boone Isaacs know that she has the support of people who know the Oscars need a big change.
Dear Academy President Isaacs,
We want to thank you and Phil Robinson for the efforts to expand the Academy Awards and give actors of color more of a chance to be nominated and more of a chance to vote for others. You, and the board that voted unanimously, have shown a strong ability at listening and responding to the backlash that erupted when there was a lack of people of color that were nominated for awards this year.
It is nice to see that you voiced your frustrations over the nominations this year, the second year in a row where the 20 nominees are all white. We are aware that this comes from a voting staff that is made up largely of older, white men. By increasing the number of women and members of color, you are opening the door to a more diverse and racially fair Academy Awards.
There was obviously going to be some outrage over the new actions being taken, and we want to thank you and all those who voted for them for not backing down on your beliefs. There are excellent actors of color that deserve nominations they are not getting. No Native American actor has ever been nominated, and we hope these changes will end that woeful streak.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Toby Canham