The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that votes for the Oscars, is nearly 94 percent white and 77 percent male, according to a 2012 Los Angeles Times investigation. Blacks make up about 2 percent of the academy, and Latinos make up even less than that.
So what are some of things that could possibly go wrong when the Academy is almost entirely white?
Earlier this year, the Oscar ceremony’s “In Memoriam” reel that features actors who have passed away in the past 12-months left out actress Lupe Ontiveros. The Mexican-American actress worked steadily throughout her 35 year career and her credits included films like “Selena,” “Real Women Have Curves,” “The Goonies” and “El Norte.”
But she was overlooked.
Members of the National Latino Media Council (NLMC) recently met with representatives of the Academy to discuss ways in which to increase Latino representation amongst members of the Academy.
The meeting was requested by members of the NLMC after outcry from the Latino community arose regarding Ontiveros’ exclusion from the ‘In Memoriam’ reel, and a desire to discuss their concern about the lack of diversity in the Academy’s membership.
“We had a very positive discussion, and reached accord on a number of issues and we believe that the Academy representatives are earnest in working with us to address our diversity concerns,” stated retired Congressman Esteban Torres, NLMC Chairman.
NLMC is working on building a list of qualified U.S. Latinos that the Academy can invite to become members. The Academy will ultimately decide who they invite.
“We appreciated the opportunity to meet with the NLMC and discuss much of the work the Academy does year-round to encourage new filmmakers and to support Latino artists,” said Academy President Hawk Koch and CEO Dawn Hudson.”