The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that as part of its Academy Aperture 2025 initiative to make the Oscars more inclusive, filmmakers and studios will soon be required to meet new standards in order to submit a movie for the Best Picture award.
“The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them. The Academy is committed to playing a vital role in helping make this a reality,” Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”
For the 94th and 95th ceremonies—2022, and 2023—filmmakers will have to submit a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form to be considered. For the 96th awards in 2024, however, Best Picture hopefuls will be required to meet at least two out of four new standards.
Under Standard A, at least one “lead or significant supporting actors” must be either “Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native, Middle Eastern/North African, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander,” or, “Other underrepresented race or ethnicity.”
As for the rest of the cast, at least 30 percent of it must be made up by, “Women, Racial or ethnic group, LGBTQ+,” or, “People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing.”
The main storyline, narrative, or theme of the film must also be centered on one of the above groups.
At least two members of those same groups must be represented in the film’s leadership to meet Standard B, including, “Casting Director, Cinematographer, Composer, Costume Designer, Director, Editor, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Producer, Production Designer, Set Decorator, Sound, VFX Supervisor, Writer.”
Additionally, at least one of those positions must be filled by a member of one of the ethnic groups listed in Standard A, while six other crew members—excluding Production Assistants—must be from an underrepresented or ethnic group. At least 30 percent of the total crew must be represented by women, racial or ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ people, or people with cognitive or physical disabilities.
The two remaining standards address similar diversity requirements in terms of paid internships and in the areas of publicity, marketing, and distribution.
Despite how some people have decided to interpret the rules, a film that doesn’t have a diverse cast for historical or other reasons wouldn’t be disqualified from being a Best Picture nominee—the makers simply have to make an effort toward inclusion by having diverse leadership behind the camera and elsewhere on set.
Of course Hollywood’s right-wing crowd—which seems to think the rules mean there can’t be movies about white people anymore—isn’t happy about the new standards. Actor-turned-Trump-supporting Twitter personality James Woods tweeted simply, “Madness.” Kirstie Alley tweeted and then deleted, “This is a disgrace to artists everywhere. Can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his f–king paintings. You people have lost your minds. Control artists, control individual thought .. OSCAR ORWELL.”
She clarified her thoughts in a follow-up tweet, saying that she is “100 percent behind diversity, inclusion & tolerance” but doesn’t like percentages.
I deleted my first tweet about the new rules for best movie OSCARS because I feel it was a poor analogy & misrepresented my viewpoint. I am 100% behind diversity inclusion & tolerance. I’m opposed to MANDATED ARBITRARY percentages relating to hiring human beings in any business.
— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) September 9, 2020
As of January, the Academy’s membership was 84 percent white and 68 percent male. In the Oscars’ 90-year history, only two films directed by Black directors have won Best Picture.
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