Winners of the Oscars have always been decided by a panel who are often shrouded in complete secrecy, a collective who number 5,765 and yet whom no one seems to know anything about. As 'The Help's' Viola Davis - nominated for lead actress this year - said, "I have to tell you, "I don't even know who is a member of the academy" to the Los Angeles Times.
Now, that same publication have done their own investigation into the who's who of the judging panel, and their discoveries make for a somewhat interesting analysis, with the majority mainly old and Caucasian - hardly representative of the film-going public at large. The paper revealed the following stats; Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male. Blacks are about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%. Oscar voters have a median age of 62, the study showed with people younger than 50 making up only 14% of the membership.
It has to be said that this merely proves a long held assumption of the faces behind the Academy Awards, but reactions as to whether things should change are surprisingly divided. "I don't see any reason why the academy should represent the entire American population. That's what the People's Choice Awards are for," said Frank Pierson, a former Academy President who remains on the board of governors, continuing "We represent the professional filmmakers, and if that doesn't reflect the general population, so be it." However his views are somewhat damned by the influence of such a narrow demographic; other stats reveal that less than 4% of acting awards have been given to African-Americans in its 83 years, whilst only one woman has received the Academy Award for directing 'The Hurt Locker.'