Grammys to expand number of nominees for diversity

Bruno Mars receives a second Grammy for Record of the Year during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards show in New York, on Jan 28, 2018.
Bruno Mars receives a second Grammy for Record of the Year during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards show in New York, on Jan 28, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • Only one woman, Lorde, was nominated for Album Of The Year at the Grammys in January, while just one woman, Alessia Cara, took home a major solo award, for Best New Artist.

Another bum note - a University of Southern California report showed that women made up just 9.3 per cent of Grammy nominees over the past five years in the top four categories.

The Recording Academy, which organises the annual event, has heard the chorus of protests. It is increasing the number of nominees in four categories from five to eight, in a push to increase diversity in the 60-year history of the event.

The changes, announced on Tuesday, will take effect for next year's edition, following an uproar earlier this year over the low numbers of female nominees, winners and performers in the televised ceremony.

Eight artists will now vie in each of these categories: Best Record, Best Album, Song Of The Year and Best New Artist. Other categories will remain at five nominees.

At this year's Grammys, where Bruno Mars dominated with six wins for pop album 24K Magic, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow was criticised for saying that female musicians needed to "step up" if they wanted greater recognition.

Singer Alessia Cara was the only woman to take home a major solo award, for Best New Artist, at this year's Grammy Awards.
Singer Alessia Cara was the only woman to take home a major solo award, for Best New Artist, at this year's Grammy Awards. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The expansion of nominees follows a similar decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2009 to enlarge, from five to 10, the number of Best Picture nods for the annual Oscars.

Although only one winner is named, nominations for Grammys and Oscars typically lead to a big bump in record sales and box-office takings for the artists and movies that are celebrated.

Nominations for next year's Grammys will be announced in autumn and the televised awards show from Los Angeles is expected to take place in February.

Meanwhile, the Oscars' widening of its doors is also music to the ears of Asian actors, with Andy Lau, Sylvia Chang, Shah Rukh Khan and Takeshi Kaneshiro among 928 film-industry professionals invited to become members.

The list of names, announced on Monday also includes Chinese directors Lou Ye and Liu Jian.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2018, with the headline 'Grammys to expand number of nominees for diversity'. Print Edition | Subscribe