Sweeping changes to membership and voting rules have been made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in response to the outcry over a lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations.
A unanimous vote of the 51-member board of governors on Thursday night introduced a series of new measures, which include recruiting new members representing greater diversity, reports the Los Angeles Times.
For the second year in a row, only white actors and actresses were nominated in the acting categories, which set off a storm of protest online under the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. Then came pledges earlier this week by director Spike Lee and actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith to stay away from the Feb. 28 ceremony in protest of the lack of diversity among the nominees.
Meanwhile Charlotte Rampling, among the best actress nominees this year for “45 Years,” has called the uproar over a lack of African-American nominees “racist to whites.”
Rampling, also a member of the Academy, made her comments during an interview with French radio station Europe 1. She said she didn't see the point of having something like a race-based quota system for nominees, a notion proposed by her interviewer, according to The Guardian. Her explanation (as translated by the Guardian) was that one would “never really know” how the Academy makes its decisions, and that “sometimes maybe black actors didn’t deserve to make the shortlist.”
“Why classify people?” Rampling said. “These days everyone is more or less accepted ... Do we have to take from this that there should be lots of minorities everywhere?” according to The Guardian.
Rampling’s responses have sparked a flurry of backlash on social media. “MISSING: A set of marbles,” wrote former CNN host Piers Morgan on Twitter. “If found, please return to Charlotte Rampling.”
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