The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has revealed the names of the 683 filmmakers and craftspeople it is inviting to join its ranks. Forty-one percent of the enormous new class is comprised of people of color, bumping the overall academy from 8% to 11% people of color. After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said she was committed to doubling the number of woman and minority members who can vote for the Oscars — an ambitious goal by any measure.
Robert Greenwald, an independent documentary filmmaker and president of Brave New Films, praised the academy's announcement but noted that more steps toward diversity need to occur in the hiring process.
“I appreciate the academy being open and transparent. With such a deep deficit, there of course is a long way to go for the academy to look like the rest of the United States. Glad to see them taking the important initial steps. But of course the real systemic problem is in making the hiring more diverse, so that there are more and more candidates for the academy to consider. And I hope the press and others will focus on the diversity in the hiring.
“I have personal experience. Brave New Films has a fellows program ... with focus on women and men of color. First year, we had 551 applications for five spots. So the talent and desire is there. We must open up the hiring process.”