Oscars Announce New Diversity And Inclusion Standards For Best Picture Eligibility
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced new inclusion and diversity standards for the Oscars Best Picture award, according to Rolling Stone. The new requirements are expected to be in place for the 94th and 95th Oscars ceremonies, which will take place in 2022 and 2023.
A task force, led by Academy governors DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos, developed the new measures. Per the report, the two were influenced by a template utilized by the British Film Institute Diversity Standards, which funds and governs the eligibility of certain categories of the British Academy of Film and Television Awards.
In order for a film to be considered for Best Picture, it needs to meet the criteria in two out of four specifications. Each standard has criteria for including people in various marginalized groups. These groups include women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, underrepresented racial or ethnic people, and those with disabilities, either physical or cognitive.
The measures are broken down into specific categories that include “Onscreen Representation, Themes and Narratives,” “Creative Leadership and Project Team,” “Industry Access and Opportunities,” and “Audience Development.”
Here’s how it works. In order for a movie to meet Standard A, which is “Onscreen Representation, Themes and Narratives,” the cast must have 30 percent of actors from two of the previously listed groups, at least one of the lead actors needs to be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, and/or the main theme of the story is centered around an underrepresented group.
The Academy has faced scrutiny over the years because of the abundance of white acting roles featured at the time of nominations, according to The New York Times. Many attribute this fault to the makeup of both the organization and the industry as a whole. The recent requirements seek to address the lack of diversity issues in the movie business.
“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’s president, David Rubin, and chief executive Dawn Hudson explained in a statement. “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”
While most are applauding the Academy for taking steps to include a variety of backgrounds, some have expressed frustration with the new rules and believe it takes away from the artistry in filmmaking.
“This is a disgrace to artists everywhere,” actor Kirstie Alley expressed in a recently deleted tweet.
Shortly after, she made another statement on Twitter saying that her opinions were misunderstood.
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