Cheryl Boone Isaacs has officially been elected to her fourth term as president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. This fourth term will be Isaacs’ last as academy rules state that officers can only serve a maximum of four consecutive years in any one office.
Boone Isaacs is the first African American president of the 90-year old organization, and is currently leading the efforts towards building a more inclusive Academy in the wake of #OscarSoWhite. She vowed to make changes to diversify the Academy’s membership. The goal was to DOUBLE the number of women and minority members of the Academy by 2020. At the beginning of the year, Oscar voters were nearly 94 percent Caucasian and 77 percent male, and the average age of the voters ranged from 62 to 63.
Last month, under Boone Isaacs’ leadership, the Academy announced its 2016 membership class, which consisted of 683 actors, filmmakers, executives, and behind the scenes talent from 59 countries across the globe. The number of invites tripled from 2014, and doubled the number (322) from last year. Of the 683 invited, 46% were women. This makes the Academy 27% female rather than 25%. By adding 41% new members who are people of color, the percentage changed from 8% to 11%.
Earlier this year, the Academy also added new members to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made. Three new governors were appointed to join its 51-seat board. Reginald Hudlin, the co-producers of the Oscars, was added to the director’s branch. Gregory Nava (El Norte) was added to the writers branch. Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda) was added to the short films and features animation branch. Prior to this change Cheryl Boone Isaacs was the only person of color who sat on the board, and was also the only person of color to serve on the 51-seat governor board.
In addition to the new additions to the executive board committees, six additional members were appointed to oversee specific areas of the Academy. Producer Effie Brown (Project Greenlight, Dear White People) joined the museum committee. Actor Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) joined the awards and events committee. Cinematographer Amy Vincent (Wayward Pines) joined the preservation and history committee; Executive Marcus Hu (Bad Actress) and animator Floyd Norman (Monsters, Inc.) joined the education and outreach committee. Executive of 20th Century Fox’s animation division Vanessa Morrison joined the finance committee. Film producer and director of the LA Film Festival, Stephanie Allain joined the membership and administration committee.
Boone Isaacs has certainly lead the way towards a more inclusive Academy, and based on the films that have been announced this year, it seems as if the rest of Hollywood is slowly following suit.
Congrats to Cheryl Boone Isaacs!