Pictured: Casting Director David Rubin serves as the current President of the Academy. His long career includes films as diverse Men In Black, The Talented Mr. Ripley, My Cousin Vinny, Fried Green Tomatoes, ad The Smurfs.
The Academy’s Branches
The Academy is divided into 17 branches, with three additional classifications for At Large Members (who get to vote for the Oscars), and Associate and Retired Members (who do NOT get to vote on the Oscars).
While the total number of Academy member is 9,537, most news organizations assume that the general public is only interested in members who can vote for the Oscars, and so they leave out the Retired and Associate members. This is why you will often see it reported that there are 8,469 voting members from the 17 branches and the At-Large members.
While much Oscar punditry focuses on the actors branch, this can sometimes be misleading. For the general public who is already accustomed to associating films primarily with their actors, it is perhaps too easy to lose sight of the potential impact of the smaller branches. Yes, actors make up the largest single branch, but they are still only 15.6% of the voting membership. They may be the most public face of the Academy, but only 1 out of 6 Oscar voters are people whose faces have appeared “on the screen”.
To keep myself from falling into the trap of associating the academy only with the famous, I have begun imagining the branches in clusters. For example, if you combine the producers, executives and public relations branches, they collectively make up a larger voting bloc than the actors do, lest I forget that the movie industry is as much about business as it is about art. Similarly, while the technical and craft artists may be broken up into different branches, they constitute a greater proportion of the Academy than the famous directors that get labeled as auteurs. And while documentarians, animators and musicians may not have that much in common, it would be foolish to disregard the number of Oscar votes they carry.
(Numbers retrieved from The Wrap 12/10/2019)
Actors Branch: 1324 Members.
Casting Directors Branch: 128 Members
Cinematographers Branch: 273 Members.
Costume Designers Branch: 154 Members.
Directors Branch: 526 Members.
Documentary Branch: 486 Members.
Executives Branch: 591 Members.
Film Editors Branch: 345 Members.
Makeup Artists And Hairstylists Branch: 206 Members.
Marketing And Public Relations Branch: 514 Members.
Music Branch: 345 Members.
Producers Branch: 583 Members.
Production Design Branch: 343 Members. (Includes art directors, production designers and set decorators.)
Short Films And Feature Animation Branch: 740 Members.
Sound Branch: 503 Members.
Visual Effects Branch: 545 Members.
Writers Branch: 485 Members.
At Large Members: 378 Members. Includes stunt coordinators and production managers.
Associate Members: 208 Members. Includes talent agents and those who have contributed to the movie industry or the Academy in ways that don’t fit into the branches above. (Note that these members do not vote on the Oscars)
Retired Members: 860 Members. (Note that these members do not vote on the Oscars)
Learn about the development of the Academy’s Branch History.
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