Breaking Down the Academy Class of 2014: From the Newcomers to the Record Setters
This story first appeared in the July 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
It's not quite your dad's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences anymore. Continuing a concerted effort to shake up the 6,000-member organization — or at least to give it a younger, arguably hipper, undeniably more diverse complexion — Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs on June 26 invited 271 new members to join. That's down slightly from the 276 who were offered membership last year but still up significantly from just a decade ago, when a more restrictive Academy accepted only 127 new members.
Oscar nominations -- and even wins -- don't guarantee an invite, which arrives by mail in advance of the public announcement. They only assure each branch's exec committee will consider a candidate; otherwise, hopefuls have to line up at least two members of their respective branch to sponsor them. Each branch — which requires various minimum numbers of screen credits "that reflect the Academy's highest standards" — forwards recommendations on to the general membership committee, which sends a list to the Board of Governors for approval. Producer Dana Brunetti, for example, didn't get an invite after his best picture nom for The Social Network, but he did this year after being nominated for Captain Phillips, and he tweeted, "Finally!"