Oscars: Civil Rights Group Pushing Academy to Reveal Diversity Data (Exclusive)


ColorOfChange wants the Academy to reveal the demographic breakdown of its members as a first step to increasing diversity within its ranks.

The Civil rights group ColorOfChange.org is using Oscars weekend to draw attention to the lack of diversity within the ranks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

This year's acting nominees are all white, and there have been complaints that Selma director Ava DuVernay, an African-American woman, was not nominated in the directing category. The Academy does not share a breakdown of its membership, but a 2012 Los Angeles Times report found that of the nearly 6,000 members, 94 percent are white, 77 percent are male and 86 percent are 50 or older.

"They have never been transparent about diversity. Either diversity matters to them or it doesn't," ColorOfChange executive director Rashad Robinson tells The Hollywood Reporter. "If it matters to them, they need to be transparent. The Academy is such a powerful force in our culture. It validates so much."

The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the organization's first black president, has previously said she would push for more diversity within its ranks and that she was "committed to seeking out diversity of voice and opinion."

During awards season, the Academy came under fire from Selma star David Oyelowo, who said Oscars favor black actors "more for when we are subservient." And tweeting out a photo of himself with the Oscar nominees at the annual nominees luncheon, Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris joked, "They all look so white! #toosoon."

Robinson says that by revealing its diversity information, the Academy would be taking a step toward fixing the problem. The next step would be to meet with groups and experts who could help the Academy increase diversity within its ranks.

"The Academy is private about its diversity, but they have one of the most watched televised events in the world. They are public about everything else," says Robinson.

Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch