It’s time for the Academy to finally talk the talk, put their money where there mouth is, or whatever idiom you might find most appropriate for the announced diversification of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. You may recall that in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite outcry last month, the Academy’s first African-American president Cheryl Boone made some important changes to the organization’s membership guidelines in an effort to shakeup the demographics and make the Academy more representative of the country at large.
Now it seems she and the executive board have gone a step further by appointing three new members to the Academy’s board of governors along with six new members to the Academy’s various subcommittees. We know — it all sounds rather labyrinthine for a professional organization known for giving out little golden statues of “El Indio” Férnandez once a year, but the Academy is actually a year-round ordeal that runs a number of libraries, cultural centers, fellowships, and is even opening a motion picture museum.
The latest additions to the board of governors are just what we would hope after the #OscarsSoWhite protests, with African-American Reginald Hudlin joining the Director’s branch, Asian-American Jennifer Yuh Nelson joining the Short Films and Feature Animation branch, and our man Gregory Nava — writer-director of El Norte, Mi Familia and Selena — holding it down for Latinos in the Writer’s branch. This is all kind of a big deal because according to Academy rules, governors of the organization’s 17 branches must be voted in to their positions; but even though a number of minorities ran for these coveted spots last year, in many cases they lost out to white male incumbents. Nava is now the only Latino on the Board of Governors.
It reads like a microcosm of American society at large, and is proof that sometimes the only way to break inertia is with a little positive intervention from up top. To make our day all the more brighter, the world’s Mexican boyfriend Gael García Bernal was appointed to the Awards and Events Committee. While these are all very important steps, it kind of takes away the Oscar mystique when you realize the Academy is actually a giant Parent Teacher Association.