Winners of Academy Awards are chosen from an exclusive group of Hollywood insiders. But just how exclusive that group might be may shock some or may not be a surprise at all to the various minority groups in the nation.
According to a study conducted by The Los Angeles Times, the Academy, which consists of 5,765 members, is 94 percent Caucasian and 77 percent male. Only 14 percent of the Academy is younger than 50. Minority voters make up a measly 4 percent of the group, with African-American and Latinos spitting that number with 2 percent each.
Academy President, Tom Sherak, says that the groups lack of diversity is part of the problem. Speaking about his attempt to diversify the Acadamy, Sherak told the L.A. Times that he has had a great deal of trouble attempting to make changes, since the groups demographic mirrors a very white industry.
Academy governor Phil Alden Robinson says, “We start off with one hand tied behind our back… If the industry as a whole is not doing a great job opening up its ranks, it’s very hard for us to diversify our membership.”
Criticism of the industry and the Academy for its overt racial, age, and gender barriers have been ongoing for years. Activist like Jesse Jackson protested the Academy in 1996 over its lack of diversity while big names such as Samuel L. Jackson noted last year to the L.A. Times that 2011′s ceremony didn’t include one African-American presenter.
On the other hand; Sherak told the L.A. Times that he hopes the study encourages more diverse members of the industry to apply for membership saying, “Come to us, we’ll get you in. We want you in. That would help us a lot.”
Well if you didn’t know before, you will probably understand better why The Artist is the favorite to win big at this year’s Academy Awards.