Film Academy Extends Deadline for New Member Suggestions, Proceeds With Agenda

Oscar Statue at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - Getty-H 2019
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is continuing its efforts to diversify its membership, even as Hollywood's film industry comes to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic, but on a slightly delayed timetable, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The Academy's member relations department on Wednesday emailed the organization's roughly 8,000 members to tell them that they are being given a one-week extension — from March 27 to April 3, and possibly longer than that — to suggest new members for inclusion on the invitation list that has historically been announced in the summer.

"The global situation with the coronavirus is our foremost concern, and we are mindful of what everyone is currently dealing with on a day-to-day basis," the missive began. "In an effort to be conscientious of your time and focus right now, while also trying to continue the Academy’s work, we are extending the membership proposal deadline to April 3. We will continue to keep you updated if this deadline needs to be extended further."

Earlier this week, the Academy said it is "evaluating all aspects of this uncertain landscape and what changes may need to be made" to accommodate the unprecedented changes facing the industry, ahead of the next awards season. 

On Friday, Academy president David Rubin emailed members to say that the organization's agenda will continue as planned through the rest of the year. "Now is the time for the community of Academy members to look after each other," he said, as the industry combats the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered theaters, halted production and led to the loss of thousands of jobs."

Added Rubin: "We all know the teamwork required to make a film. That same solidarity will help us get through this. As we all proceed to connect and work remotely, and look forward to a return to comparative normalcy, please know the work of the Academy and our agenda for the rest of this year continues." 

This will include members being invited to opt-in as candidates for governor and branch executive committees in April, as well as participating in judging the upcoming Student Academy Awards and the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. 

Emphasized Rubin: "Our Board of Governors is intently focused on increasing communication with members, as well as ramping up our social media outreach to both members and the global movie audience — both in this challenging time and going forward."

The full text of Rubin's email appears below.

* * *

Dear Fellow Academy Members,

We are clearly at a time when connection and community are more needed and more valued than ever.

In the midst of concern and uncertainty regarding the spread of the Coronavirus, entire populations have been appropriately asked to isolate themselves, which has resulted in the closing of countless movie theaters worldwide. The theatrical exhibition of motion pictures, a medium to which we’ve all dedicated our professional lives, has been temporarily sidelined. Similarly, many films in production and preproduction have recently been put on hold. So many freelance artists and craftspeople are out of work, many without a safety net.

Now is the time for the community of Academy members to look after each other. We all know the teamwork required to make a film. That same solidarity will help us get through this. Please continue to take time to check in with colleagues, inquire about their well-being, and offer assistance in whatever way possible.

As we all proceed to connect and work remotely, and look forward to a return to comparative normalcy, please know the work of the Academy and our agenda for the rest of this year continues. In April, members will be invited to opt-in as candidates for governor and branch executive committees, and later this spring you’ll be encouraged to participate in judging the upcoming Student Academy Awards and the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Your engagement and support is very much needed and appreciated. In return, we will stay in regular contact with you about Academy-related issues and activities.

Our Board of Governors is intently focused on increasing communication with members, as well as ramping up our social media outreach to both members and the global movie audience — both in this challenging time and going forward. It’s an essential part of the Academy’s mission to not only share our experiences in this art form with each other, but to effectively connect with as wide a constituency as possible.

Just as we're united in this health emergency, we are all united by our pride in being members of an Academy that perseveres, as we recognize and uphold excellence in motion picture arts and sciences and strive to connect the world through cinema.

I send you warm regards and best wishes for good health, for you and your loved ones.

David Rubin
President