Oscars Goes Metamorphosis: Film Academy Grants Agents Right to Vote for the Academy Awards

Changes were announced and specifications of privileges were opened to gain more inclusivity in nominating and deliberating the deserving motion pictures for the Academy Awards. Controversies sparked when filmmakers, actors, and people in the film industry had brought up the biases and prejudices that happened in the Oscars Committee. 

The issue in neglecting the actors of color sprung as the Black Lives Matter erupted these days. Moreover, the Oscars faced media turmoil due to the controversies it caught. This may sound so absurd, but it is not. The Black actors and film makers struggled and fought so hard to claim the spots and recognitions that were rightfully belonged to them. 

Film Agents, who has been neglected and been classified as associate members without voting and other exclusive privileges, have granted in their decades-long battle to become full-fledged members who can exercise certain privileges in Oscars. 

The debatable decision will surely spark several unfavorable remarks but the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has finally opened the doors and voted to recognize “artists representatives” — more commonly known as agents — the right to vote for Oscars for bigger chance to expand the decisions on whom and to which will the award will go. The decision was praised by the people in the film industry. Others expressed their distaste believing that it can be the avenue for more bias decisions but majority is delighted of the metamorphic decision of the Oscars. 

After how many decades of waiting and fighting for the right to vote, select agents have been promoted to do certain amount of decisions to the Academy as associate members, meaning they can enjoy all of the privileges of membership that will give them more opportunity to express their opinion and arguments in justifying their votes. This includes member screenings, screeners, etc. — except voting. Well, not bad though but we can consider these abrupt decisions as revolutionary. 

Moreover, all the chosen film agents or representative who are already part of the committee will be promoted and admitted to the members-at-large branch — members of which do not fall neatly under one of the Academy’s 17 other branches, but do still get the right to exercise to vote— and all agents who will got the invitation to become sole members in the near future will come can automatically join that branch for further negotiations and privileges. 

For many decades, film agents have long fought and made their mark that they are entitled to have the privileges because they are integral members of the Hollywood community who deserve full-fledged membership in the committee. But unfavorable remarks circulated that have contended that agents will push more their personal interest and biases that will lead them to support their own clients or they agency’s clients that will be surely risking the possibility of bloc voting and other forms of injustices inside the committee. (That argument has always been somewhat undercut by the fact that public relations specialists, who are in a similar situation, have had an Academy branch for decades.)

This may be a life-changing decision but one main reason why the Academy have thought of this decision to expand its membership and privileges to include agents: its goal and desire to add the number of women and people of color who are members as part of its recently-announced Academy Aperture 2025 initiative. The revolutionary decision is indeed, a good start to recalibrate and modify the face of the film industry and the recognitions it can offer to the deserving artists and film-makers. 

This week, new Academy member invitations are expected to be announced  so stay tuned. 

Harold Watson
Harold Watson is a business consultant and a professor in Business Administration. His in-depth analysis on business and decision-making pushes him to be a public speaker and writer.

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