Here's a few snippets from Wikipedia. Actually, I didn't realize that the Academy was still functioning. I don't think of it as good or bad.
the Académie française was "to labor with all the care and diligence possible, to give exact rules to our language, to render it capable of treating the arts and sciences". The Académie française has remained responsible for the regulation of French grammar, spelling, and literature.
As the use of English terms by media increased over the years, the Académie has tried to prevent the Anglicization of the French language. For example, the Académie has recommended to avoid loanwords from modern English (such as walkman, computer, software and e-mail), in favour of neologisms, i.e. newly coined French words derived from existing ones (baladeur, ordinateur, logiciel, and courriel respectively, the first three being at present well-established words of the French language).
The Academy, despite working on the modernization of the French orthography, has sometimes been criticized for allegedly behaving in an overly conservative manner. A recent controversy involved the officialization of feminine equivalents for the names of several professions. For instance, in 1997, Lionel Jospin's government began using the feminine noun "la ministre" to refer to a female minister, following the official practice of Canada, Belgium and Switzerland and a frequent, though until then unofficial, practice in France. The Académie, however, insisted in accordance with French grammar rules on the traditional use of the masculine noun, "le ministre", for a minister of either gender. Use of either form remains highly controversial."
P.s. corneille's Le cid was censured by the Academie...I'm not even sure what that meant (that is, could it still be performed, etc.)
Paul Weaver spruce 2014