Contrary to popular belief the Oscars consist of more than: five nominations each for Best Actor/Actress, and five nominations each for Best supporting Actor/Actress. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a Multi-National entity. There are twenty-four categories and NOT counting the twenty people nominated for: Best Actor/Actress or Best Supporting Actor/Actress there are one hundred eighty-five people nominated (eight men and one woman have two or more nominations in different categories) to receive Oscars for their work released in 2015. Nominees ethnicity are represented from twenty-nine countries in the 2015 nominations: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chili, Columbia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, United States, and Wales.
Of the five nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role: three represent the United States, one from Ireland and one from the United Kingdom. Of the five nominees for Best Supporting Actor: Three are from the United Kingdom and two the United States. For Best Actress in a Leading Role there are: three from the United States, one from the United Kingdom and one from Australia. For Best Supporting Actress there are: two from the United States, one from Canada, one from Sweden, one from the United Kingdom.
Of the one hundred eighty-five other nominees: one hundred forty-six are men, thirty-nine are women consisting of diverse backgrounds that aren’t visually apparent by random google searches.
The Academy Board of Governors approves membership to the Academy. Actors Membership requirements are: (Copied From Academy Bylaws at Oscars.org):
Article III, Section 1. Membership shall be by invitation of the Board of Governors. Invitations to active membership shall be limited to those persons active in the motion picture arts and sciences, or credited with screen achievements, or who have otherwise achieved distinction in the motion picture arts and sciences and who, in the opinion of the Board, are qualified for membership.
To be considered for invitation to membership in the Actors Branch of the Academy, an individual must:
(a) have a minimum of three theatrical feature film credits, in all of which the roles played were scripted roles, one of which was released in the past five years, and all of which are of a caliber that reflect the high standards of the Academy,
(b) have been nominated for an Academy Award in one of the acting categories,
(c) have, in the judgment of the Actors Branch Executive Committee, otherwise achieved unique distinction, earned special merit or made an outstanding contribution as a motion picture actor.
There are fifty-one Governor Board Members with three representatives for each of the seventeen branches of the Film Industry represented that have the final say on who is invited to become a member. The seventeen Branches are: Actors, Casting Directors, Cinematographers, Costume Designers, Designers, Documentary, Executives, Film Editors, Make-up Artists & Hairstylists, Music, Producers, Public Relations, Short Films & Feature Animation, Sound, Visual Effects and Writers Branch. There are thirty-four men and seventeen women on this Board; fifty are from the United States one is from the United Kingdom.
There are seven Officers named from the Governor Board: a President, a First Vice President, three Vice Presidents, a Treasurer, a Secretary and a CEO in charge of a 300 people staff.
In 2014 two hundred seventy-one multi-national artists and executives were invited to join the Academy’s membership twenty actors were on the list: twelve from the U.S., three from the UK, one from Somalia, one from Germany, one from Ireland, one from Denmark and one from Mexico; fourteen were men, six were women. When the Academy Award season comes around actors nominate actors, once nominated then the membership votes for all academy categories.
The Board of Governors also oversees the special Governors Awards. On November 14, 2015 at a Black Tie invite only dinner five hundred guests celebrated the presentation of the 2015 awards. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was presented to Debbie Reynolds (which was accepted in her honor by her granddaughter Billie Lourd). An Honorary Award was presented to actress Gena Rowlands by her son Director Nick Cassevetes. A second Honorary Award was presented to Director Spike Lee by actors featured in his films that had boosted their careers and expanded their prominence; Wesley Snipes, Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. At this awards dinner Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs discussed the Academy’s ‘New Initiative; a 2020 five-year move to increase film industry diversity in front of and behind the camera’.
The making of a film is a huge project. Any movie theater ticket buying customer that loves film no matter how good or bad and stays to the bitter end watching the hundreds of names scroll past of artists that worked as a team on that production knows there is one thing the list never points out… ethnicity, nationality, color. I’m hoping that all two hundred and five multi-national nominees for the 2015 Academy Awards are afforded a chance this year to celebrate their nominations and not have this honor diminished because of the color or lack of color of their skin.