News Wires, The Guardian, September 8, 2020
The Oscars are raising the inclusion bar for best picture nominees, starting with the 96th Academy Awards in 2024.
In a historic move, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday laid out sweeping eligibility reforms to the best picture category intended to encourage diversity and equitable representation on screen and off, addressing gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and disability.
The film academy has established four broad representation categories: on screen; among the crew; at the studio; and in opportunities for training and advancement in other aspects of the film’s development and release. To be considered for best picture, films will have to meet two of the four new standards, the Academy said.
Each standard has detailed subcategories as well. To meet the onscreen representation standard, a film must either have at least one lead character or a significant supporting character be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group; at least 30% of secondary roles must be from two underrepresented groups; or the main storyline, theme or narrative must be focused on an underrepresented group. According to the academy, underrepresented groups include women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people or people with disabilities.
“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,” said David Rubin, the Academy president, and CEO Dawn Hudson in a written statement. “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”
The second category addresses the creative leadership and crew composition of a film. In order to meet the standard, a film must have either at least two leadership positions or department heads be from underrepresented groups and at least one be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group; at least six other crew members be from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups; or at least 30% of crew members be from underrepresented groups.
The third category deals with paid internship and apprenticeship opportunities as well as training opportunities for below-the-line workers, and the fourth category addresses representation in marketing, publicity and distribution teams.