Before the #OscarSoWhite controversy erupted two years ago, the academy had been making a concerted effort to expand its ranks to include more minority and female members. However this had been at a far slower pace than the new initiative announced in 2016 which promised to double the numbers of both groups by 2020.
At the beginning of 2016, AMPAS membership had been 92% white and three-quarters of the 6,261 Academy Awards voters were men. In both 2016 and 2017, the academy set new records for the number of invitations extended, with 683 and 774 respectively. However, the bulk of these invites still went to white men. Will the same be true for the class of 2018, which will be announced the week of June 25?
Granted, minority men and women of all colors have been represented in greater numbers among the incoming classes of the last two years. In 2016, 46% of the invitees were women as were 39% of the 2017 class. Overall, the 2016 class had 41% people of color while last year’s was 30%.
Today, the roster of voters for the Oscars sits at about 7,250. But even with the significant upticks detailed above, women still represent just 28% of the overall membership while minority representation is now at 13%.
While there is still a long way to go to make the academy representative of our society, the efforts to remedy this are to be commended. For decades, efforts had been stymied by a quota system that had restricted the number of new members. That was done away with in 2013 when 276 people were asked to the party in 2013; that was 57% bump from the 176 additions in 2012. In 2014, the academy invited 271 people to join while the 2015 class of 322 had set a new record.