After a move to clarify voting rights in January sparked concern and accusations of ageism, the Academy sought to reassure members on Monday.


In a letter to members that tweaks the earlier guidelines, the Academy board said the rules in fact favoured members with longer careers and did not exclude people who have retired or remained inactive for a while.

According to reports, the letter defines what appears to be the critical concept of “activity”.

A new member’s ten-year voting rights become eligible once he or she is active, which is determined from the point of “first qualifying work”.

Each of the Academy’s membership branches will determine what counts as “first qualifying work” since there are practical differences on this point among the various sections of the industry.

Activity during the first term of ten years triggers a renewal of voting status in a second term, which in turn can lead to entitlement to a third term and finally lifetime voting rights. Oscar nominees get automatic lifetime voting rights.