John Krasinski and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is considering new rules to try and boost diversity in response to widespread criticism over this year’s Oscar nominees, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The Academy is reportedly considering expanding the number of best picture nominees and actors in each category, among other changes. We discuss the proposals and the state of diversity in Hollywood.

Rebecca Keegan, writer, Los Angeles Times
Wendell Pierce, Actor. He starred in the HBO series "The Wire" and "Treme" and his films include "Selma", "Ray", and "Waiting to Exhale". His new book is The "Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken".
Stephen Gong, executive director, Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    What most people do not know is you become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences only if you have been nominated in a given field. So unless the Academy steps up and makes sure more people of colour are nominated in the different categories there will never be more people of colour as members! The fact that statistics show most members are white, male and age 60+ reminds me more of the Republican party than an industry that is called liberal by so many people.

    • De Blo

      You misspelled ‘color’.

      • Beth Grant DeRoos

        You might wish to become better educated. It can be spelled colour or color Just like flavor flavour
        Or as the classic song Lets Call The Whole Thing Off notes
        You say either and I say either,
        You say neither and I say neither
        You like potato and I like potahto
        You like tomato and I like tomahto

  • Drago

    There’s a ton of diversity in Hollywood. There’s people who are half-Irish, half-Jewish; and people who are half-Russian, half-Jewish; and people who are half-Italian, half-Jewish; and even one guy who’s half-African, half-Jewish. And how can anyone say they aren’t open-minded? They’ve got an IKEA after all… and a Whole Foods. That proves it. And they’ve got 20 flavors of Botox. Now that’s Diversity!

    • Karen P.

      Wow…what a snarky anti-Semitic comment.

      • Drago

        Semite = anyone who speaks a Semitic language, the vast majority of whom are Arabs. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t making fun of Arabs.

        If the vast majority of Semites are Arabs and Hollywood portrays them in a bad light consistently, then it has to be said that Hollywood is anti-Semitic.

  • Bill_Woods

    It doesn’t really seem fair to blame the Academy — they can’t nominate people who weren’t cast.

    Which film performances in 2014–15 by black actors/actresses were overlooked?

    • Mason Gibb

      for one, the whole cast of the new Spike Lee joint. if history is any predictor, the Spike Lee film will be taught in film schools in 20 years. in the same 20 years, Mad Max will have two sequels then be rebooted.
      you tell me: which film and performances deserve to be honored by the academy?

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      Will Smith in the great movie Concussion

  • Sean Dennehy

    People claim that the nominees are not diverse enough, but who would they remove from the nominations list to include minority actors? Who do they want to throw under the bus?

    • Mason Gibb

      I’m sure there’s a score of lackluster performances up for an award, but S. Stallone would be my first pick to throw under the bus.

  • Cleavetoo

    The problem with my industry is that Hollywood only believes that stories about white characters can be respected and successful. There are over 600 films made in the US each year. Yet there are very few stories told about Chinese Americans or Japanese Americans, or blacks or Native Americans. Further, directors of color or female directors are also very rare. In over 25 years in the film industry, I’ve worked for 4 black directors and just 3 women. I was the only black Assistant Director in my city for many, many years. The industry itself needs to change. But with respect to the Oscars, if the voting body isn’t representative of the of the people, it really doesn’t represent the views of the people. The Voting body is currently reported to be 94% White, 76% male and an average of 63 years old. We must do better.

    • Robert Thomas

      With respect to the movies and roles that may have been nominated this year and weren’t – I don’t know.

      People imagine that the AMPAS is a bunch of actors and (maybe) directors.

      With respect to the demographics of the voting membership of the AMPAS, one problem seems to be that the best picture category is nominated by the entire academy. The AMPAS disproportionately includes many technical and financial (production) workers. It’s these positions that skew the demographics for this award, not only the acting community. The AMPAS has responded to this by increasing the number of nominees for the Best Picture category. In order to change the demographics behind the Academy Award nominations, not only will more diversity among actors be required, but at least for the Best Picture category, also more diversity among sound designers, foley artists, public relations representatives, lighting directors, production and location managers, visual effect artists, cinematographers, matte artists etc. etc.

      • Cleavetoo

        The Academy has offered to limit the voting ability to 10 year terms that can be renewed. I like this approach. It has included that people who are no longer active in the business be moved to emeritus status without voting rights. I like that, too. The industry still needs to catch up. This isn’t just about the awards and everyone knows that.

  • Fielding Mellish

    Oscars , Emmys, Grammys and all the ridiculous Hall of Fames. Pay no attention, its just another way to milk a little more out of us. As to who controls the the funds to make movies, it’s clearly about the green.

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