In A Member Survey, The Film Academy Invites Some Pointed Input

Having declined a proposed bylaws revision requiring an annual membership survey—which led to a still-pending lawsuit by producer Michael Shamberg—the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday sent its members an 18-point questionnaire that touched on several hot-button issues, including streaming, the Academy’s inclusion initiative, and the quality of the last Oscar show.

In a cover letter, Academy president David Rubin asked member participation “so our work can benefit directly from your frank and confidential feedback.” At least some of the questions opened the door to pointed response, whether positive or negative.

Regarding the poorly rated 2020 Oscar telecast, for instance, the multiple-choice questionnaire asked members to characterize the show as: Excellent, outstanding; Great; Good; Okay; Enjoyed parts of the show; Neutral; Not very good; Terrible; Does not apply; or Other. The “Other” line included space for comment.” Follow-up questions asked whether the number of awards categories should shrink, grow, or remain the same, and requested suggestions for shortening the program.

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On another front, the Academy asked members whether inclusion efforts like its Aperture 2025 program—which will set elaborate diversity standards for Best Picture contenders in the future—were: Very important; Somewhat important; Not very important; Not at all important; No opinion. The question allowed no space for detailed response. But an accompanying query asked members to say whether the film industry, when it comes to inclusiveness, had done a: Great job; Good job; Okay job; Not very good job; Very poor job; No opinion.

With regard to viewing habits, the survey asked how members watched last year’s movies—whether in public theaters, in private screenings,  on discs, or via public or Academy-sponsored streaming, for instance—and separately asked for a list of frequently used devices and services. A checklist included 17 such devices and services, including FuboTV and Tubi.

The survey included no direct questions about the Academy’s management or governance, or about its rapid growth and international expansion in recent years. But it did invite suggestions about new initiatives and events.

As for Covid-19, a short series of questions asked whether members had seen a movie in a theater since the pandemic began, whether or when they would return to theaters, whether they believed long-term viewing habits would change generally.

 

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