Today's guest post is by Peppercommer and Rep-Chatter co-host, Deb Brown.
Yesterday, Repman blogged about the public relations industry and the fact that it needs to do more to attract more men to the field. This past Sunday night was Oscar night, and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself is another industry of sorts that sorely needs diversity. Kudos to the Los Angeles Times for exposing the composition of The Academy, which determines what movies, directors, and actors, among others, are nominated and ultimately win the coveted statue. In general, I don’t care much at all about what movie wins Best Picture of the Year or which actor wins for his or her role. But, for those involved in the industry, a nomination, and certainly a win, can propel an actor’s and director’s career and/or greatly impact the bottom line of a film.
The LA Times reported that “Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male… Blacks are about 2% of the Academy, and Latinos are less than 2%. Oscar voters have a median age of 62… People younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership.” It’s shocking to learn that such a homogenous group, which doesn’t reflect the broader demographics of the movie-going public, is deciding what movies and actors deserve the highest honors. In public relations, we always talk about the importance of knowing your audience and being able to emotionally connect with them. Can you imagine the Twilight films trying to connect with white men over 60? Now, Twilight doesn’t connect with me either, but I’m not voting.
The Academy has always been put on some type of pedestal by Hollywood, yet no one ever really knew who the proverbial wizards were behind the curtain. Now that its cover has been lifted, hopefully this will force The Academy to change. The Academy should look at this as an opportunity to reposition itself and create The Academy 2.0, one that more accurately reflects its own industry as well as the public who supports it to the tune of $13 per film.
The movie “The Artist” won Best Picture. Considering the make-up of the voters hasn’t changed much since the first Academy meeting in 1927, is it any surprise The Academy chose a (mostly) silent film?