You can stop hyperventilating now. After a year where white people swept the performance categories at the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has taken bold steps to diversify their voting membership. From Deadline:
Last night, the Board Of Governors of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved a record-shattering 683 new members, more that double last year’s 322, which had been the most given keys to Oscar’s kingdom previously. Beyond that though there was tremendous pressure to come up with a list that goes a long way in diversifying the membership, especially to meet the Academy’s goal stated on January 22 to “double the number of diverse members” in the organization by 2020 — meaning women and people of color.
Of course, it’s not quite good enough:
Although the numbers released today were impressive, with a total of 46% of new members being female and 41% people of color, it only inched the Academy toward its goal by increasing female members to an overall 27%, up just 2% from last year, and people of color to overall 11%, which is up just 3% from last year, before the latest #OscarsSoWhite crisis engulfed the Oscar race and sent the Academy spinning into crisis mode.
Changing the ethnic and gender makeup of Oscar voters will do precisely nothing to improve the quality of a single film or performance. So the presumption must be that women will vote for women and blacks will vote for blacks and so on. Seems sexist and racist to me. But what do I know?