LOS ANGELES — After a second consecutive year when a lack of diversity dominated the conversation around the Oscar nominations, something had to change. On Friday, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, announced new rules she hopes will double the amount of women and non-white members of the academy by 2020.
"The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up," Isaacs said in a statement. "These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition."
Two of the more significant changes: stripping the voting status of new members that have not been active in the last 10 years and actively seeking those who come from traditionally underrepresented groups, rather than relying on the academy's longstanding method of acquiring new members by having two existing members sponsor them.
The academy's response came after the announced boycotts from icons such as Will Smith, whose starring role in "Concussion" was overlooked by academy voters. Even white actors such as George Clooney were critical, telling Variety the academy did a better job recognizing non-white actors a decade ago.
But the opposition to this year's all-white slate of nominees wasn't universal. British actress Charlotte Rampling, who was nominated for her role in drama "45 Years", told French radio station Europe 1 the objection to the lack of diversity among her fellow nominees was "racist to white people."
"We can never know whether it's truly the case, but maybe the black actors didn't deserve to make it to the final list," Rampling added.