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Monday
Mar032014

New Academy President Pushes For More Diverse Voting Members by Mandalit Del Barco for NPR 

For the first time, this year's best director Oscar could go to a Mexican (Alfonso Cuaron, forGravity) or a black Brit (Steve McQueen, for 12 Years a Slave). That film's lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is also in the running for an award; so is his Kenyan co-star Lupita Nyong'o, who was born in Mexico. This year's nominees are diverse, but the people who vote for the Oscars are not.

In fact, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences continues to be an exclusive club that is 93 percent white, 76 percent male, with an average age of 63, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"I think people assumed the Academy was pretty homogeneous, and it turned out it was even more so than the worst assumptions," says journalist John Horn. He and a team of L.A. Timesreporters tracked down and spoke with most of the roughly 6,000 members of the Academy.

"When we told the Academy that we had independently confirmed the identities of more than 5,100 voters, there was a gasp in the room," says Horn. "I think they were really embarrassed by the findings of the demographics. They knew they had a problem; they were aware that the image of the Academy was that it was a bunch of old white men. But when they were confronted with the hard data of how old, how white and how male the Academy was, they really had no place to hide." Read More...

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