Big news out of the Academy this week as the Costume Designers are granted their own branch, and the Makeup And Hairstylists branch expands their representation on the board of governors from one to three members.
What does this mean for the Oscars? Probably very little in the short run. The actual Oscar voters remain the same, and even the nominations for costumes were already decided by the 110 member costume sub-group of the larger Designers branch (which was known until just last year as the Art Directors branch). Still, it is worth noting that Les Miserables is the only film to be nominated in all three of the impacted branches: Production Design, Costume Design and Makeup And Hairstyling.
Where the changes will really be significant is in terms of administration and governance for the academy. Over time it is possible that we could see a different proportion or configuration of new members admitted to the Academy in these branches, although my sense is that they already functioned with a fair amount of internal autonomy before the change.
For our Academy Members Project, though, it means that next July will see five new governors added to the board, which potentially means five new Academy members that I haven’t discovered yet. I’ll also be on watch over the next few weeks to see if any costume designers or makeup and hair specialists give public comments praising the change.
A slightly larger task will be going through the Designers Branch members who we’ve already identified and reassigning the costume designers to the correct branch. It won’t be too difficult given that their credits should be pretty easy to distinguish, but it will be time consuming, so give me a few weeks. I’ll also need to update the branch statistics page.
But for now, let’s just celebrate the expansion as a further recognition of the important work that these artists provide for our cinematic enjoyment!
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