Oscar Voters 94% White

Blacks, Latinos, women are minorities in the academy

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 19, 2012 2:40 PM CST

(Newser) – Who votes for Oscars? The list is kept secret, but an LA Times investigation shows 94% of them are white and 77% are male. Blacks and Latinos each make up only 2%. "We need to do a better job" of diversifying, says a governor at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But he insists the problem starts in the film business itself: "If the industry as a whole is not doing a great job in opening up its ranks, it's very hard for us to diversify our membership."

Another shocker: the academy's median age is 62, and only 14% of 5,765 voting members are younger than 50. Critics say that explains why The Social Network didn't win last year (too Internet-ey), why Shame is ignored this year (too sexy), and why Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is up for a Best Picture (its middle-aged theme: fathers and sons). But academy President Tom Sherak seems to blame the excluded for not joining: "If you are sitting waiting for us to find your name in our make-believe book and we are going to call you, we are not going to do that," he says. "Come to us, we'll get you in."

James Franco and Anne Hathaway celebrate with the cast and crew of The King's Speech on stage after the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, Calif.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway celebrate with the cast and crew of "The King's Speech" on stage after the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, Calif.   (Getty Images)
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