It didn't take long following the release of this year's Oscar nominations for the backlash to begin - for the second year running, the list was a complete whitewash.
In 2015, the #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign was launched in protest. This year, in what is a breakthrough for the industry, the Academy themselves have taken notice.
Following a vote last week, memberships will now be limited only to those who had been active within the industry over the past 10 years. A statement released online reads:
The Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity
President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said the Academy will "lead and not wait for the industry to catch up". The movement means there will now be three new Governor seats elected by the President, as well as committee support structures.
The admirable aim is to achieve a much greater representation of both women and minority groups by 2020.
"If We're Not Part Of The Solution, We're Part Of The Problem"
Perhaps it's no surprise the Academy have finally listened. Hollywood was understandably outraged by the glaring omission of minority groups this year; Creed duo Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, Will Smith (Concussion), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) are just a few of many who were overlooked.
Hollywood big-time couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith both said they would boycott the ceremony. Will told Good Morning America:
"There's a position that we hold in this community and, if were not a part of the solution, we're a part of the problem."
A Lack Of Options For Minority Groups
The comments ignited a debate in Hollywood, with a number of big stars expressing their despair at the news. Mark Ruffalo, nominated for his role in Spotlight, Tweeted:
George Clooney, while talking to Variety, also spoke of his disappointment. He said:
10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African Americans were nominated. I would also make the argument, I don't think it's a problem of who you're picking as much as it is: How many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films?
Although, not everyone was completely for the argument. Charlotte Rampling caused some controversy when she suggested that the whitewash was purely due to a lack of quality black acting. She later said she regretted her comments.
Ultimately though, wherever you stand on the debate, this move is good news for the future of the awards. Let's just hope that this also filters into the industry as a whole.