Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Read the Book, See the Movie

A quick note about the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Currently there are 5,765 members of the Academy. My brother tells me he's been told the average age of the membership is 61.
According to a February 25th article in the Los Angeles Times
In the last few years, there has been an uptick in the number of women and minorities earning spots among the 5,765 voting members of the Academy. Nevertheless, based on The Times' study, which confirmed the identities of 5,112 members, the Academy today is almost 94% white and 77% male. Last year, according to Academy officials, of the 178 people accepted for membership, only 30% were women and 10% were nonwhite.
Kind of ridiculous that this small skewed body of people have so much power, in this day and age! In the Times article, the Academy claims they are trying to change things but it's difficult since the industry itself is so weighted.
The article goes on to say
Today, a certain number of work credits as well as sponsorship by two current members, an endorsement of a branch committee or an Oscar nomination are necessary before an applicant is even considered. Membership is for life.
I would love to see someone like a Meryl Streep use her personal and industry power to campaign for change.  I think it would be great to see a wider range of films receiving some notice. The Academy publicity is a huge generator of ticket sales, and ticket sales are what counts when it comes to filmmaking success.
On the other hand, there are some great things the Academy does for the industry, most notably in its film archive and library. And I for one am excited about the prospect of the movie museum they're planning on creating here in Los Angeles in partnership with LACMA. You may have read recently that Leo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg spearheaded a group of buyers who purchased the ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz for this same museum? You've gotta love that!
They also have a terrific website where you can find out about upcoming events and visit one of my favorite sections Read the Book, See the Movie which is just one among many.

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