Vulture decided to poll new Oscar voters recently to see how they might change the way the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences picks its award winners. The Academy is infamously filled with older white men, who historically have not given two shits about diversity or inclusion. As a result, backlash like the 2015 hashtag #OscarsSoWhite has swarmed around the award show for years.
But the Academy has been making an effort to bring on younger women and people of color into their voting ranks. Vulture interviewed 14 of these new members to see how they might help shift which artists and what films get awarded during the annual Oscars show. The poll revealed a lot of the things that the new voters are considering when it comes to casting their votes, but more than that, their comments exposed just how stuck some older Academy voters are in vanilla days of old.
According to a couple new voters, several older Academy members dismissed Jordan Peele’s Get Out as a non-Oscar contender without even having seen the film. "I had multiple conversations with longtime Academy members who were like, 'That was not an Oscar film,'" said one new voter. "And I’m like, 'That’s bullshit. Watch it.' Honestly, a few of them had not even seen it and they were saying it, so dispelling that kind of thing has been super important."
Even with the younger, more diverse group, many voters say the diversity issues that sparked #OscarsSoWhite are not going to go away overnight. "It’s still a lot of white dudes," one voter said.
Some chalk up the glacial pace of change to the fact that there are still so many older voters. "It’s really exciting that movies like Moonlight and Get Out are getting this level of recognition and even getting made in the first place," said one young Academy member. "I think these movements are far more likely to play out amongst younger voters than older ones: There are a lot of voters in their 70s, 80s, and 90s in Beverly Hills whose view of the world is probably a little too locked-in, and a movie like Get Out might be too much for them."
Two new Asian voters also pointed to the snub of Downsizing’s Hong Chau as an example of a continued lack of diversity among all minorities. "It wasn’t actually until I met her that I was like, Holy shit, this woman did something really interesting beyond the perilous Asian cliché that was also potentially part of that role. When I got to talk to her about it, I was doubly impressed, and I think more Academy members would have been if they had been introduced to her further, but she just wasn’t out there enough," one of those voters said. "I’m sure people just thought, 'She’s really an Asian with a thick accent,' but she’s an actor who created that role. I get #OscarsSoWhite, but that doesn’t only apply to black people."
Some of the new voters also cited the #MeToo movement as having an effect when it comes to casting their votes. "[Franco] definitely fell out of the race for me," said one actress, a new voter. "When I first saw The Disaster Artist, I felt he was very talented, but after all those allegations came out in the press, he definitely fell from grace with me. I cannot allow somebody to walk away with an award when they are not a good person, and harming women."