For some reason the folks that run the Academy have made it their business to keep the membership a secret. You kind of know who has recently been asked to be a member because they now release lists of people given invitations, but you really don't know who the majority of the 5,765 members are. They want it to seem like a secret society, but it reminds me more of a typical frat where they don't want the names to be revealed because then they would actually have to explain how unrepresentative they are.
The LA Times has dug in and talked to 89% of Academy members and to no one's surprise the Academy is old, white and male.
Here are the stats:
- The Academy is 94% white
- The Academy is 77% male.
- The media age is 62.
- Only 14% are under 50 years old.
Also we learned that women make up just 9% of the directing branch and 19% of the screenwriting branch.
My douche comment of the day goes to former Academy President and current Board of Governor member Frank Pierson who said:
"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…We represent the professional filmmakers, and if that doesn't reflect the general population, so be it."
No wonder why women and people of color have such a hard time getting in with leaders making comments like that.
Also it's important to remember that the Oscars and the Academy are big business. The Academy has $196 million in assets and gives out $20 million in grants and scholarships a year including to film festivals, and according to their last tax filing made $81 million dollars in revenue from the Academy Awards.
While I'm sure this is not news to people who work in the business, it will be news to people who only pay attention to this stuff around Oscar time. Us regular people, you know the ones in the American population who like the People's Choice Awards and actually buy tickets to your movies… we are going to have some questions about this.
Wake the fuck up Academy. Come out from behind the veil and publish your membership. What have you got to hide?
Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male (LA Times)
How the members were counted (LA Times)