Although membership invites have been extended to Nollywood influencers before now, the recognition, just like the others, sparks conversations around the Academy’s selection process. If you have had some questions since the news broke, this explainer might be of some help.

The Academy Membership, who Qualifies?

Annually, between March, April and May (spring), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selects hundreds of actors, film directors, producers and executives then extends invites into its 17 branches.

The Academy’s 17 Branches

Actors, Casting Directors, Cinematographers, Costume Designers, Directors, Documentary, Executives, Film Editors, Makeup artists and Hairstylists, Marketing and Public Relations, Music, Producers, Production design, Short film and Feature Animation, Sound, Visual Effects and Writers.

These branches represent the various aspects of motion picture production. Each branch has a committee responsible for the selection of prospective members that will be approved by the Academy’s Board of Governors.

Academy members are charged with voting privileges excluding a select few known as Members at Large. This category is made up of members without a clear-cut branch that their film work identifies with. However, the Academy recently announced that Members at Large can now vote.

How are members admitted?

You simply can not send the academy an email demanding to be a member neither can you call somebody who knows somebody to tell somebody to get you in at least, not technically. Membership selection is done through branch body sponsorship. Two members of a branch are allowed to sponsor prospective members.

Oscar nominees are automatically considered as members but still need to be okayed by the board of governors.

Do Members smile to the bank?

Public knowledge is that membership status does not come with financial compensation. Voting members, on the other hand, are expected to pay dues. According to a 2018 report by Deadline, membership dues were increased from $350 to $450, and this was to help make screening mediums available globally.

The Academy’s Governors get compensated for certain duties. Depending on their duties, these compensations run into thousands of dollars. The highest single payout in the organization’s history was a $330,000 honorarium paid to deceased American film director, Gil Cates for producing the 2005 Oscar telecast.

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