The voting members for this year’s Oscar awards see a gradual influx reciprocated by the numbers going down due to members’ retirements and deaths.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences extended membership invitations to a record 322 people in June. As a result, the Academy gained almost 170 voting members over the past year.
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Among them the total number of members eligible to vote for the 88th Academy Awards now stand at 6,291. It is a significant improvement over last year when 6,124 members only were eligible to vote, according to The Wrap.
Where many will be glad about the numbers, it has to be considered that the influx is partly counterbalanced by members who have died or taken non-voting, retired status. The AMPAS website lists 77 members who died in 2015.
Most of the Academy’s 17 branches experienced a slight rise in membership since early December 2014 since last year’s branch count was prepared for the 87th Oscars voting.
Only two branches have a smaller membership than they did a year ago. The Visual Effects Branch has seen the largest increase. It added 19 members making an addition from 340 to 359.
Other branches that saw definite increases were Film Editors, with an addition of 18; Documentary, which increased by 15; Music and Short Films and Feature Animation, each of which increased by 13; Directors, which grew by 12; and Casting Directors and Public Relations, which increased by 10 each.
The Actors Branch which is the largest in AMPAS, fell for the third consecutive year. It dropped by 12 members, from 1,150 to 1,138, though it still has more than twice as many members as the next largest branch.
The Producers Branch also dropped by two, going from 485 to 483. It was also recorded that number of actors in the Academy dropped for the third consecutive year, but total membership tops 7,000.
The total comes from an official branch count prepared by the Academy on Dec. 14 for Oscars voting that begins on Dec. 30.
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The 88th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 14, 2016, at 5:30 a.m. PT at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.