The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Diversifies With 774 New Members

On June 28, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy) admitted the biggest, most diverse class of new members in the institution’s 90-year history. According to the Academy’s official site, this year’s class includes 774 entertainment professionals from 57 countries, signaling a continuation of the Academy’s commitment to pursue greater diversity and inclusion for women and minorities within its ranks.

The New York Film Academy has always celebrated the diversity of the international entertainment industry, which is reflected in our student body: 50 percent of NYFA students are from countries outside the U.S., with an equal representation of male and female students. As New York Film Academy President Michael J. Young notes, “This very diversity is a pillar of the industries our students hope to enter upon graduation,” and supports the raising of a new generation of film and media artists that can help build toward greater inclusion both onscreen and behind the scenes.

The New York Film Academy has reported in its Gender Inequality in Film Infographic that approximately 5 men are employed for every 1 woman in the film industry, and women account for only 30.8 percent of speaking characters on screen — though women make up 50 percent of the U.S. population. Figures for the inclusion of minorities in the industry are no better, with NPR reporting in 2016 that a USC study found only “28.3 percent of characters with dialogue were from non-white racial/ethnic groups, though such groups are nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population.”

As the LA Times notes, the 774 new members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are announced after a period of time in which the Academy, along with the wider entertainment industry, has attracted scrutiny and debate over issues of inequality. The underrepresentation of women and minorities created controversy during the 2016 and 2017 Oscars ceremonies, with many protesting the predominantly white and male nominations — nominated by a predominantly white and male Academy — under the rallying cry #OscarsSoWhite.
According to an interview with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO, Dawn Hudson, in the LA Times, addressing inequality is a long-term project for the Academy: “That commitment [to diversity] has not waned and will not wane for many years to come. Because I don’t see this industry getting a lot more diverse or having more gender parity anytime real soon. So this work will be ongoing for the Academy. And I know that it has inspired others to follow suit.”

According to the Academy’s website, while the addition of its 774 new members reflects a359 percent increase in women” and a “331 percent increase in people of color” inducted since 2015, the total percentage of membership for women and minorities in the Academy remains low, at 28 percent for women and 13 percent for minorities

The New York Film Academy is committed to nurturing a diverse and international community for students, faculty, and staff. For the full list of the 774 new members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, click here.

New York Film Academy takes a look at gender inequality in film

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