China Daily

Focus> Life & Art> Content
Thursday, July 12, 2018, 16:15
Oscars' diversity: New Chinese members of the Academy
By chinadaily.com.cn
Thursday, July 12, 2018, 16:15 By chinadaily.com.cn


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited 928 filmmakers from 59 countries to be admitted as new members, raising the total membership to 9,226 people on June 25.

The voting process for a Oscar winner is like a math quiz

Also, Chinese actor Andy Lau, director, and actor Sylvia Chang, and Chinese-Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro were invited by the Academy this year.

The audiences may be wondering how, exactly, do these Oscar nominations work? Who decides who gets nominated?

How can you become an Academy member?

The members of the Academy are current or retired filmmakers and film professionals, who either go through a rigorous application process or are invited by their peers or award nominees to join The Academy.

According to the Oscar.org, the Academy Awards official website, the organization has divided into 20 specific branches, including actors, directors, and a branch for editing and so on.

Each can only nominate within their branch. In other words, only actors can select nominees for the acting categories, and only directors get to select the nominees for Best Director.

The general requirement is that the candidate has "demonstrated exceptional achievements in the field of theatrical motion pictures," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"[Actors] must have a minimum of three theatrical features under their belt, while directors must have a minimum of two helming credits."

READ MORE: Academy award-winner turns lens on Nanjing Massacre

The actor, director Sylvia Chang at the 37th Hong Kong Film Awards on April 15, 2018. (PHOTO / VCG / CHINADAILY.COM.CN)

How are Oscar winners decided?

"It's a bit like the 'alternative vote' system. But it may not be fair," said the Economist reporter.

The voting process is like a math quiz. According to the Collider, the movie review website, said for most categories, a voting member submits a list of no more than five nominees.

Importantly, when it comes to the Best Picture category, all members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees.

For this category, a voting member must submit a list of between five and ten nominees. In addition, the Best Picture winner is required to have more than 50 percent of the total votes.

For fairness, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), an accountancy firm that is responsible for totaling the votes, uses an "alternative vote" method.

"There are problems with this process. For one thing, voters can pick films they haven't even seen," the Economist indicated.

Actor Takeshi Kaneshiro at the press conference of the movie 'This is not what I expected' on April 29, 2017. (PHOTO / VCG / CHINADAILY.COM.CN)

The faces from China in Academy

The Academy Awards have been presented since 1929, but the majority of nominees among the popular categories including directors have been white (93.8 percent) up to the year 2016, according to ABC. Lack of diversity has historically been a problem for the Academy.

It is not the first time that the Chinese have been invited by the members of the Academy. Besides these three professionals, there are few Chinese industry professionals who have received an invitation, including Lou Ye and Yan Geling.

Also, Wang Zhongjun and Wang Zhonglei, the founders of China's Huayi Brothers Media, and Yu Dong, the president of Bona Film Group, were also invited as executives of the Academy.

"If these 928 filmmakers accepted the invitation, it will result in 38 percent of the Oscars' governing body's new class being comprised of people of color, increasing their representation from 13 percent in 2017 to 16 percent," according to the Variety's report. "Meanwhile, the new class is 49 percent female, boosting the total representation of women from 28 percent in 2017 to 31 percent."

Writer Yan Geling on the red carpet at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival, Shanghai, June 20, 2018. (PHOTO /VCG / CHINA.COM.CN

ALSO READ: China's Perfect World backs Oscar Gold

According to the Hollywood Reporter, these numbers show the Academy trying to achieve diversity since the lack of people of color among the acting nominees led to the protest hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, as well as the #Metoo movement, which addresses the power imbalances.

Among that, the faces from China are making deeper impressions on the scene, reported China Daily.

Share this story