‘Lost in Space’ Star, Bill Mumy: Dismissed as Oscar Voter, With New Diversity Rules
Lost in Space star, Bill Mumy, has penned his frustration to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, over his dismissal as an Oscar voter.
Mumy, who has been active in the entertainment industry since 1959, wrote that he was ‘dissapointed and saddened’ by the decision of the Academy to remove him as an Oscar voter.
As a seasoned professional in the industry for many years, this decision would surely be hard to justify.
This change comes in an attempt to make the Academy’s membership, its governing bodies, and its voting members significantly more diverse, with the recent outcry that no black actor was nominated for this years Academy Awards. The Board’s new and recent goal, since the outcry, is to ‘commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020’.
However, Mumy disagrees that racism plays any role in the selection of the nominees, writing: ‘The nomination process is not racist. Surely you realize that members of the Academy don’t get together in clandestine meetings to discuss who they’re going to nominate or not nominate.’
According to a study by the LA Times, Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male. Blacks are about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%. The study also revealed that Oscar voters have a median age of 62, the study also revealed that people younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences explains the new diversity rules: ‘Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade. In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award. We will apply these same standards retroactively to current members. In other words, if a current member has not been active in the last 10 years they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria. Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status. Emeritus members do not pay dues but enjoy all the privileges of membership, except voting. This will not affect voting for this year’s Oscars.’
Photo: Lost in Space cast, with Bill Mumy, bottom right.
Read Mumy‘s response letter below, that he wrote to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for being dismissed as an Oscar voter:
To Whom it May Concern,
I started working as an actor at the age of five in 1959. I made my debut in a major studio feature film when I was six. I worked prolifically in both features and television and was accepted into the prestigious voting ranks of the actors branch of the Academy in 1975.
Some of the producers, directors and fellow actors I’ve had the privilege of working for and with include: Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Jimmy Stewart, Shirley Jones, Gene Kelly, Rod Serling, Lucille Ball, Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Stanley Kramer, John Cassavetes, Judy Garland, Martha Coolidge, Jack Palance, Burt Lancaster, Jack Klugman, Ed Wynn, Brigitte Bardot, Cloris Leachman, Claude Reins, Franklin Shafner, Irwin Allen… The list goes on and on and on. My point is: I learned my trade from Masters and I strongly feel that I’m still qualified to view films and share my opinions on them via an Academy ballot.
Sadly, the Academy no longer feels that is true.
I’ve continued to work as an actor onscreen and as a voice over artist, but it’s been increasingly difficult finding A-level representation. Many agencies have told me they feel my having been a child star so long ago is more of a detriment than a benefit. I simply haven’t been interested in working in films I’ve felt had weak scripts or were of an exploitative, negative nature. Nor do I choose to audition for bit parts or work for basically no money. Like so many other Academy members who have a long history in the film industry, you are now punishing me for a lack of consistent employment, when it is beyond my own ability to cast myself or even find representation who can get me into the meetings and auditions these days for quality roles and films in the first place.
I have careers in music and writing and I chose to stay home for several years when my two children, who have both worked as actors in major studio feature films, were young. I don’t see why that should now render my vote unworthy.
I’m deeply saddened and disappointed by the actions the Academy has taken, without any discussion first amongst the members, to capitulate to a handful of whiners who threaten to “boycott” by not dressing up, walk the red carpet and sit in the audience because they feel the actors branch didn’t do our jobs of nominating candidates for Oscars this year to their personal satisfaction.
The nomination process is not racist. Surely you realize that members of the Academy don’t get together in clandestine meetings to discuss who they’re going to nominate or not nominate. Personally, I was shocked that neither Michael Caine or Harvey Keitel received a nomination for their excellent work in “Youth”, but I certainly don’t consider it a deliberate slight because they’re senior citizen caucasians.
Academy awards are not about the television broadcast, the dresses, jewelry or the paparazzi and publicity regardless of how much the public and industry folks enjoy that part of it. They are about recognizing outstanding achievements in filmmaking over a years time, regardless of age, gender or color of skin.
Now, I, like so many others, have been relegated to a lesser status by the current administration of the Academy. Booted down to a level where our opinions no longer matter, insulted by the organization that once considered us exceptional. Some, punished for enjoying semi-retirement after working, like myself, for well over half a century. It’s ageism pure and simple.
In the name of progress?
Mumy is a household name in America, being cast in shows such as Lost in Space, Bewitched, I dream of Jeannie, Babylon 5, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, Wagon Train, Perry Mason, and the list goes on. In 2016 you will see him in ‘Space Command’.
Photo: Bill Mumy with Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched.
Mumy is also an accomplished musician and has released a number of solo CDs.
I got this alert from SUPER-LIBERAL Writer David Gerrold (Star Trek and more) because it’s just wrong. Period.
He’s not relevant to the PC need for “diversity” (aka anything but White).
Apparently, the Academy thinks if the get more black voters in the Academy they will automatically vote based on race, thus more black films will be nominated.
So kick old white people. Especially, cultural icons like Billy Mumy. H
After all Blacks will only vote for Blacks, right? Latinos for Latinos? LGBT for LGBT?
This is how simplistic Liberals really are. And how obsessed with Race they are.
Of course it’s wrong, but it “diversity” and “inclusion” so it must be right. 🙂
This is how sick The Left is.
don’t you wish you could just blink and wish them all into The Corn Field! I do. At least the morons who came up with this simplisticly racist, ageist, and sexist idea of “diversity”.