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Oscars: Academy Ends Lifetime Memberships, Announces Other Initiatives to Increase Diversity

The goal is to double diversity by 2020

Liz Raftery

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday that it is taking several initiatives, including eliminating lifetime memberships, in order to increase the diversity of its membership.

In the wake of widespread criticism about the all-white acting nominees for this year's Oscars, the Academy's goal is to double the number of female and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.

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Under the new rules, new members will have voting rights for 10 years, and will only receive lifetime voting rights after three 10-year terms, or after they have been nominated for an Academy Award. The same rules will apply retroactively to existing members. Performers who do not remain active will be demoted to emeritus status, meaning they will continue to have all other benefits of an Academy membership, but will no longer be able to vote.

The new rules will go into effect later this year and will not have an impact on voting for this year's Academy Awards.

The Academy also announced a new recruitment campaign that will identify and recruit more diverse new members, as well as the creation of three new governor seats on the Board of Governors. President Cheryl Boone Isaacs will nominate people to those positions for three-year terms.

"The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up," Boone Isaacs said in a statement. "These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition."

The 88th Academy Awards will be broadcast live on Sunday, Feb. 28 on ABC. What do you think of the Academy's announcement?