Nightly News | February 23, 2012
>>> everybody's getting their picks in in the office pool for the oscars sunday night, the night when we get to see the losers hide their disappointments through very tight smiles and the winners go to stage and they thank thea, cad me. the question is who exactly is the academy and who gets to vote for the winners? our report from our man in hollywood , mike taibbi .
>> reporter: what makes oscar night such delicious viewing is that there's always an argument beyond the red carpet . how did "the hurt locker" with 20 million in ticket sales in 2010 snag best picture over "avatar," the $2 billion juggernaut. and for this year's silent surprise "the artist" should be in the same conversation with george clooney 's "the descendants" and seven other big picture nominees.
>> you wouldn't be right and i wouldn't be wrong.
>> reporter: who actually votes for the stars and studios and craftspeople honored on oscar night? "the l.a. times " had the most detailed answer yet reaching more than 5,000 academy members.
>> we found out that the academy is 94% white and 77% male and the median age is 62. other notable numbers that 98% of the academy screenwriters are white and 97% of the cinematographers are men.
>> hollywood 's big night .
>> not a huge surprise given the history of hollywood and the oscars, like other voting instewings with lifetime membership, think baseball's hall of fame and the u.s. supreme court , change is slow. it's not just about old white men. actress dolores hart who once starred with elvis.
>> you thought i was a nice girl.
>> has long been a nun, now mother superior and still has her oscar vote. and the voters come from a not very diverse industry says former best supporting actress nominee alfrey woodard.
>> this business is one of the last bastions of not reflecting what this country really is in an everyday way.
>> reporter: so woodard is trying to get the business to become more representative.
>> we're reaching out to people that we think, you know what? do you know about the academy? i think you should apply.
>> reporter: and the academy is offering more and more grants and intern ships.
>> in today's time who doesn't want to see more diversity?
>> reporter: as the big show draws near, for all who have seen this year's nominated movies and stars, or not, the arguments have probably already begun. mike taibbi , nbc news, hollywood .