'Who knows what will come up,' said one board member

By Nicole Sperling
January 21, 2016 at 11:20 PM EST
Jaimie Trueblood

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will meet Tuesday night at the group’s regularly scheduled board meeting. But, of course, nothing will be regular about the meeting. With the organization under fire after the recently announced Oscar nominations honored no actor or actress of color, and films with diverse, multi-ethnic casts — like Straight Outta Compton, Creed and Beasts of No Nation — were primarily ignored, the topic of the evening’s proceedings will center squarely on increasing the diversity of the 6,000-member group that votes on the annual awards. 

“It promises to be a long and adventuresome night,” said one of the group’s 51 governors. 

Ideas on how to fix the proceedings have already been floating around town. The New York Times reported Thursday morning that the body is considering expanding its best picture nominees back up to 10, as they were altered back in 2009. Another more radical idea suggested expanding the number of acting nominations as well.

That possibility seemed to generate more controversy. 

“This is still supposed to be about honoring the best performances,” said one member. “Expanding the acting field to 10 only devalues that honor.” 

Another board member was equally downbeat on such a concept. “We always talk about whether we should expand to 10 [films] or contract to five. It’s never been about expanding the actor field.” 

Other thoughts center on altering the composition of the membership, whether by expanding the ranks dramatically or culling the current members. While any board member can bring up any idea Tuesday night, it’s more likely any proposal that prohibits current members from voting would be met with greater resistence. 

The Academy declined to comment on the upcoming meeting. 

Its board is made up of 51 governors, with 17 women and 34 men. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and cinematographer Daryn Okada are the only members of color.

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