The Academy racked up a number of firsts and mosts with its enormous and very diverse list of prospective new members on Wednesday — and along with the largest number of invitations and the most ethnically and sexually diverse incoming class ever, it also quietly admitted for the first time just how severe its diversity problem is.
In a graphic accompanying the list of 683 people who will be invited to join AMPAS, the Academy showed the percentage of female and minority members among the new invitees, and among the current membership.
According to its figures, 25 percent of the Academy is currently female; 46 percent of the new invitees are women, which will bring the overall percentage to 27 percent if they all accept membership.
A paltry 8 percent of the current Academy is made up of people of color, who constitute 41 percent of the invitees. If they all accept, the ratio within the Academy will jump by three percentage points, to 11 percent.
The numbers reveal what a lengthy task it will be to turn around the demographics of an organization as large as AMPAS, which currently has more than 7,000 members, of whom about 6,300 can vote for the Oscars. And they also show that the Los Angeles Times’ exhaustive study of the Academy, done at a time when the organization was highly secretive about the makeup of its membership, was largely accurate.
In 2012, the Times concluded that the Academy was 94 percent white and 77 percent male, figures off by only two percentage points from AMPAS’ own current figures.