When I first read these statistics, it certainly shined some light on my concern. According to a study by the LA Times, as of 2012, there are 5,783 members on the Academy Awards board. 77% of the voters are male, 86% are above the age of 50, and an astounding 94% are Caucasian. That leaves 2% as African Americans and less than 2% as Latino. Does that sound like a group of people that truly mirrors the public? I don't necessarily (key word there: necessarily) doubt or question the people that are on the board, but I feel as though if you are going to represent an entire population, it should be more diverse.
That's why we always see the same actors, actresses, directors and same types of films get nominated year after year. Don't get me wrong, I think Daniel Day Lewis and Meryl Streep are probably the consistently finest actors working today, but there are so many more talented roles being portrayed on film that are not being recognized. Nothing angers me more than watching someone like Michael Fassbender or Gary Oldman put their heart and sole into a performance only to be overshadowed.
Supposedly once you are a voter for the Oscars, you are a voter for life. It is a lifetime commitment. Now that strikes me as problematic because, not to be prejudice against older people, but movies have come a long way, and they have certainly evolved. Older generations have grown up with and mainly been exposed to the same style of movies over the years. I'm sure there are definitely some older movie-viewers that appreciate art and different types of avant garde filmmaking, but generally they probably don't. Having a mainly older group of individuals vote on movies that aren't "like they used to be" is just silly. I can't tell you how many truly spectacular movies have been snubbed by the Oscars because of their misunderstood "modern style": Drive, Tree of Life (even though it was up for a few oscars, it took home nothing), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Melancholia, Holy Motors, Enter the Void, Fight Club, Memento, The Fountain, Dark City, and basically any David Lynch or pre-A History of Violence Cronenberg movie.
I'm not trying to say older viewers shouldn't be allowed to vote for the Oscars because they "don't get it". All I'm saying is that we should mix things up. Bring in some new voters and allow a current member to decline being a voter if they so choose (since they're probably just throwing their vote away because their heart just isn't in it) and bring in more ethnicity to the board. Why is it such a big deal? Denzel Washington put it perfectly by stating "If the country is 12% black, make the Academy 12% black. Why not?" Well put, John Q.
Ugh, I need a drink.
Written by: Kyle Cicilioni
Horn, John: Oscar voters Overwhelmingly White, Male
19 Feb. 2012