Academy Gains 600 Oscar Voters After Year of Big Changes

After sending out a record number of invitations in June, every one of the Academy’s branches saw an increase in members

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gained more than 600 voting members over the past year, with the total number eligible to vote for the 89th Academy Awards standing at 6,687.

The total comes from an official branch count prepared by the Academy on December 21 in preparation for voting that begins on January 5.

Last year, 6,261 members were eligible to vote. The Academy extended membership invitations to a record 683 people in June, in a concerted and large-scale effort to make the organization more diverse and international in scope.

That influx of new members, the vast majority of whom accepted the invitations, is partly counterbalanced by members who have died or taken non-voting, retired status.

The memoriam page of the AMPAS website lists 60 members who have died in 2016.

An unspecified number of members were also moved to emeritus status in a new process to weed out inactive members, but the Academy did not release that number, which is thought to be very small.

Every one of the Academy’s 17 branches experienced a rise in membership since early December 2015, when last year’s branch count was prepared. The largest gains came in the Directors Branch, which added 79 members (after inviting 91 new members) and the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch, which added 78 (after inviting 88).

On the other hand, the Public Relations Branch invited 22 new members but only gained a single member in year-to-year comparison, and the Costume Designers Branch only gained two.

The number of non-voting Associate Members rose by 17 to 233, while the number of retired members dropped from 716 TO 686.

The total number of members, voting, retired and associate, grew from last year’s total of 7,152 to 7,686.

The branch breakdown:

Actors: 1,158 (+20 from 2015)
Casting Directors: 99 (+13)
Cinematographers: 240 (+13)
Costume Designers: 117 (+2)
Designers: 295 (+17)
Directors: 473 (+79)
Documentary: 277 (+40)
Executives: 468 (+10)
Film Editors: 274 (+20)
Makeup Artists & Hairstylists: 157 (+16)
Music: 279 (+22)
Producers: 504 (+21)
Public Relations: 389 (+1)
Short Films and Feature Animation: 479 (+78)
Sound: 456 (+19)
Visual Effects: 383 (+24)
Writers: 406 (+14)
Members at Large: 233 (+17)

Total voting members: 6687 (+606)
Retired members: 686
Associate members: 189
Total active members: 6,876
Total active and retired members: 7,686