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After several years of inviting massive classes of new members to join their organization, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is warning people to expect a much smaller class of new members this year and going forward.
“As we look to the future growth and goals of the Academy, we need to scale appropriately so we can continue to give the personal service our members have come to expect and appreciate,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “We remain focused on cultivating a membership body that reflects our diverse film community and the world around us.”
In the five years since the #OscarsSoWhite crisis exploded — following the second of two consecutive Oscar nominations announcements without a Black acting nominee — and led the Academy to expedite its inclusion efforts under the A2020 initiative that had been in the works even before that, the Academy has markedly increased the number of invitations it issued each year. Indeed, after inviting just 322 new members in 2015, it invited 683 in 2016, 774 in 2017, a record 928 in 2018, 842 in 2019 and 819 in 2020.
This surge of new members nearly doubled the Academy’s total membership and resulted in the organization meeting and exceeding its A2020 goals of doubling the number of Academy members who are women as well as those from underrepresented ethnic/racial communities by 2020.
But 10 percent annual growth was unsustainable for a number of reasons. This year, 4 percent or 5 percent overall growth can be expected, based on guidance sent this week by the Academy’s board of governors to the executive committees that preside over invitations for each of the organization’s 17 branches.
Each branch’s executive committee has been instructed to cap its number of 2021 invitations at a figure roughly proportional to the current size of the branch. Past Oscar nominees and winners will not count toward that total.
Executive committees will meet throughout the month of June to consider new candidates for membership, and an announcement of those receiving invitations is expected in late June or early July.
“Membership selection decisions will continue to be based on professional qualifications, with representation, inclusion and equity remaining a priority,” the Academy said in a statement. “The Academy is committed to advancing its Aperture 2025 initiative, furthering goals to increase equity and inclusion in the stories told through film, elevate different voices within Academy leadership, and provide opportunities to amplify these voices across multiple sectors in the industry.”
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