The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- the group that hands out the Oscars annually -- has often been accused of being a club of older, white males; however, the Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that it may relax its cap on membership -- there are 5,800 voting members -- and diversify. The newspaper observed, however, that it was not clear how many new members will be added or when and how the policy change was arrived at. The newspaper noted that a study that it conducted last year found that nearly 94 percent of Academy members are white, while blacks make up about 2 percent and Latinos less than 2 percent. Some 77 percent of the membership are male and that half the membership is over the age of 62. Nevertheless, a member of the producers' branch of the Academy, who declined to be identified by the newspaper, said he wasn't sure that the Academy's plans to diversity would impact his division. I suspect we will be pretty self-limiting in terms of who we take in, in large part because the people on our membership committee have produced a lot of movies and want to keep the Academy a merit-based organization, he said.
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