Since announcing this year's Academy Awards nominees earlier this month, the blatant lack of diversity immediately became the central focus of the forthcoming ceremony. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith announced plans to boycott the festivities in protest, pointing to the reality that the #OscarsSoWhite controversy is actually indicative of a much larger problem within the larger Hollywood infrastructure.
After briefly addressing these concerns earlier this week with a letter from Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy has now unveiled its plan to double the number of "women and diverse members of the Academy" by 2020. "The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” Isaacs said in a press release on Friday. "These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition."
The initiative, which will not have any impact on this year's voting process, will also update the current rules surrounding voting status renewal and result in the launch of a "global campaign" aimed at recruiting members that represent the diversity so clearly absent in this year's nominees.
As far as immediate action is concerned, the Academy says it will start adding members to its leadership boards to help "nurture" future leaders:
The Academy will also take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not Governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made. This will allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making and help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.
The 88th Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, will air via ABC on Feb. 28.