The US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced measures Friday to increase diversity among its Oscars voters, addressing a public outcry after the slate of acting nominees came up all-white for a second year running.
"The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up," Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a press release announcing changes to membership and voting rules approved unanimously in a meeting Thursday evening.
The Academy had been criticized for the homogeneity of its membership, which is overwhelmingly older, white and male, and that homogeneity's apparent influence on the Oscars, which only rarely have recognized non-white actors and filmmakers.
Currently, the Oscars are awarded through voting by the Academy's 7,000 members, who are all members for life. New membership is strictly by recommendation from current members, making it one of Hollywood's most exclusive and insular old boy's clubs.
In changes that will take effect this year, Academy members will lose their voting rights after they have been inactive in the movie business for 10 years, the Academy said.
The Academy said it would launch a global campaign to recruit a more diverse membership alongside the traditional membership process.
It will also "immediately" expand its governing board and committees to begin "the process of significantly changing our membership composition," Boone Isaacs said.
The changes would not affect voting for this year's Oscars, which are to be awarded February 28, the Academy said.