The Switch Crunches Some Academy Membership Numbers

From Art's Deli in Studio City to the Washington Post's data journalism pages, more #OscarsSoWhite.

The front page illustration for today’s edition of Washington Post free daily Express is for a story inside by AP film writer Jake Coyle, about the kinds of films that typically have the most success each year at the Oscars. However, it’s the article on the facing page, taken from the Post’s The Switch, that leaves the lasting impression.


Reporter Drew Harwell leads off with the same story writer-director Rod Lurie shared last month in The Hollywood Reporter, about running into fellow Directors branch members at Art’s Deli in Studio City and discussing with them Straight Out of Compton, a film that only one had half-seen. Then in the Express come these corroborating stats:

By crunching data on Academy notices, crowd-sourced databases, private archives and other sources, The Post analyzed the two branches that wield the strongest influence on the nation’s cinema: the directors, whose members preside over America’s most prominent film stories, casts and crews; and the executives, whose studio chiefs, executive producers, investors and movie moguls make the financial decisions that keep Hollywood alive.

The data reveals a staggering lack of diversity among Hollywood’s top ranks: About 96 percent of the more than 450 members in the executive branch are white and 87 percent are men, The Post found. The average member is retirement age, just over 65… Of the Directors branch’s roughly 400 members, six percent are Hispanic, five percent are Black and four percent are Asian, The Post found.

More ammo for host Chris Rock. It’s worth noting though that if Alejandro González Iñárritu wins Best Director Sunday, he will be not only repeating but also making it three years in a row in that category for Mexican nationals. Alfonso Cuarón won for Gravity in 2014.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Warming Up for Chris Rock’s Monologue