About 37 million people tuned in to the Academy Awards last year, and a great deal rides on the show’s outcome…Yet the roster of all 5,765 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a closely guarded secret.
The organization does not publish a membership list.
A Los Angeles Times study found that academy voters are markedly less diverse than the moviegoing public…Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male, The Times found. Blacks are about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%.
Oscar voters have a median age of 62. People younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership.
Some members see it simply as a mirror of hiring patterns in Hollywood, while others say it reflects the group’s mission to recognize achievement rather than promote diversity. Many said the academy should be much more representative.
Caucasians currently make up 90% or more of every academy branch except actors, whose roster is 88% white. The academy’s executive branch is 98% white, as is its writers branch.
Men compose more than 90% of five branches. Of the academy’s 43-member board of governors, six are women; public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the sole person of color.
“I don’t see any reason why the academy should represent the entire American population. That’s what the People’s Choice Awards are for,” said (former president of the Academy) Frank Pierson, who still serves on the board of governors. “We represent the professional filmmakers, and if that doesn’t reflect the general population, so be it.”
The 2011 (Oscar) ceremony was staged without a single black male presenter.