The problem with frustrating issues, like the lack of diversity in this year’s Academy Awards nominations, is that it often feels that nothing will change (like, seriously — it’s 2016). And yet, this time around, it seems our voices have finally been heard.
According to its website, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences met for an emergency meeting Thursday (Jan. 21) and approved a series of major changes, aiming to double the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020. The proposals were passed unanimously.
When the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced on Jan. 18, the Internet erupted in disappointment, with #OscarsSoWhite trending (for the second year in a row) almost immediately thanks to snubs for major films like “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton.” Soon, actress Jada Pinkett Smith made headlines for declaring she would boycott this year’s ceremony, with her husband Will Smith and director Spike Lee quickly following suit.
The Academy will establish new membership guidelines in its effort to increase diversity. “The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs 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.”
Here’s hoping that these changes mean that #OscarsSoWhite won’t be trending this time next year.