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Report: Academy Voters on Track to Remain White Males for Decades

Under fire for nominating an all-white slate of actors for two years in a row, the academy last month vowed to double the number of women and minority members by 2020. (Thinkstock).
Under fire for nominating an all-white slate of actors for two years in a row, the academy last month vowed to double the number of women and minority members by 2020. (Thinkstock)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited more women and minority group members over the last four years, but with its 6,261 voting members appointed for life, the organization’s ranks are on track to remain overwhelmingly white and male for decades, it was reported Friday.

The 89-year-old institution has launched an ambitious drive to diversify its membership, but a Los Angeles Times study shows just how much work the academy has to do if it intends to reflect the audience it serves.

In 2012, The Times reported that Oscar voters were 94 percent white and 77 percent male. Four years later, the academy has made scant progress: Oscar voters are 91 percent white and 76 percent male, according to a new Times study. Blacks are about 3 percent of the academy, up from 2 percent; Asians and Latinos are each just over 2 percent, with both groups up slightly.

Under fire for nominating an all-white slate of actors for two years in a row, the academy last month vowed to double the number of women and minority members by 2020. It also adopted controversial new rules that will allow it to take away voting rights from inactive members.

Doubling the number of women and minority members over the next four years figures to be daunting. The academy has about 1,500 women and 535 non- white people who are eligible to vote on the Oscars, according to Times estimates. Based on those findings, doubling their numbers would require inviting at least 375 women and more than 130 people of color each year.

That would demand a dramatic shift in admissions given that the academy’s latest class — touted as the largest and most diverse in its history — was only 322 people, most of them white men, The Times reported.

Former academy president Hawk Koch says the targets are “impossible” to reach because of the academy’s stringent membership requirements and the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the entertainment industry.

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