Showbiz Sandbox 373: Is the Academy’s Diversity Fix Misguided?

July 3, 2017


After a controversy that faulted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for being too white, too male and too old, the organization has made great strides to broaden the diversity of its membership over the past two years. During that time the Academy invited over 1,450 new members to join its hallowed ranks, many of whom were women and people of color. Yet there are now grumblings that in the rush to bring in fresh blood the Academy may have lowered its standards for membership.

Major Hollywood studios are less concerned with the Academy’s membership than they are with whether Chinese exhibitors are reporting box office correctly. The MPAA and U.S. trade organizations have forced the Chinese government to let an international firm audit ticket sales for imported films at cinemas throughout the country.

We also review a listener email which goes to great lengths in explaining why satellite radio giant SiriusXM would want to purchase a stake in the online radio streaming service Pandora. The deal is setting up a senior management showdown over the digital music pioneer’s future business model.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including why Adele is canceling the final two shows of her tour at Wembley, how Sony plans on pressing vinyl records again after nearly 30 years and Oscar winning actress Olivia de Havilland lets FX know she doesn’t appreciate being portrayed in “Feud” by filing a lawsuit.


comScore Announces Official Worldwide Box Office Results for Weekend of June 18, 2017

Wonder Woman Keeps Breaking Records, Is Now the Highest-Grossing DCEU Movie to Date

Hollywood Is Auditing China’s Box-Office for First Time

Hollywood Conducting First Independent Audit of China’s Box Office

China Box Office Audit: Why Hollywood Needed to Get Tough

Netflix’s ‘BoJack Horseman’ Blocked on China’s iQiyi Streaming Service

SiriusXM is buying a big stake in Pandora for $480 million

It’s Official: Tim Westergren Steps Down as Pandora CEO Amid Top-Level Shakeup

The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick

The Last Laugh by Lynn Reed

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson

Woolly by Ben Mezrich

Adele Cancels Final Two Shows of Tour: ‘I’m Sorry. I’m Devastated’

Sony Will Start Pressing Vinyl Records After 28-Year Hiatus

Netflix Deploys Dolby Atmos

Netflix Is Getting Dolby Atmos Surround-Sound Content

Cable News Ratings: MSNBC, CNN, Fox News Post Double-Digit Growth in Q2

MSNBC Will Replace Greta Van Susteren with Ari Melber

Fox’s Sky Takeover Delayed as British Government Recommends Further Scrutiny

AEG-MSG Turf Battle Heats Up: Acts That Play L.A. Forum Cannot Play London’s O2 Arena

Jeffrey Katzenberg On WndrCo’s New TV Model: “I’ve Found A Brand New Everest” – Cannes Lions

‘Indecent’s Broadway Wraps Head North Of $100K Following Stay Of Execution
‘Indecent’s Broadway Wraps Head North Of $100K Following Stay Of Execution

Olivia de Havilland Files Lawsuit Over ‘Feud’ Portrayal

Academy Invites Record 774 New Members

Oscars: Academy’s Invitation List Is Well-Intentioned, But Misguided

Oscars: Whoopi Goldberg Among 10 First-Time Victors in Historic Academy Board Elections


  • mgiltz

    Is AMPAS lowering its standards? I’m willing to bet the Academy has ALWAYS invited some members who would raise an eyebrow and having you saying, “Them? Really? They’re an Oscar voter?” But until the Academy embraces transparency, we’ll never know. It took them decades to invite Eddie Murphy AND Christopher Plummer so let’s just assume their mistakes are color-blind. We just happen to be paying attention now. Are a handful of new invitees really just “TV people?” Yes, but the vast majority make perfect sense. And being a member is NOT equivalent to entering the Hall of Fame. you almost always get invited when you’re an active working member making movies. So enough with all the “affirmative action” complaints!