Posted on June 22, 2023

Oscars Voters Rip Into ‘Ridiculous’ New Diversity Rules for Best Picture

Michael Kaplan and Dana Kennedy, New York Post, June 16, 2023

If it were released today, “The Godfather” would possibly have no chance of winning a Best Picture Oscar.

That’s because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is beholden to new inclusivity standards.

Starting with the March 2024 awards, movies will not be considered for a Best Picture nomination unless they meet two out of four standards.

One of them is featuring a lead or significant supporting character from an “underrepresented racial or ethnic group,” have a main storyline that focuses on an underrepresented group, or at least 30% of the cast comes from two or more underrepresented groups (women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ or the disabled).


It’s got some voting members of the Academy up in arms.

“It’s completely ridiculous,” one director fumed to The Post. “I’m for diversity, but to make you cast certain types of people if you want to get nominated? That makes the whole process contrived. The person who is right for the part should get the part. Why should you be limited in your choices? But it’s the world we’re in. {snip}”


An industry insider related to The Post, “Their goal is not to disqualify any films, but rather to celebrate and encourage progress towards greater representation and inclusion in the industry.”

One of Hollywood’s biggest producers told The Post that very few people in the industry favor the new rules — but, unlike Dreyfuss, they don’t speak out for fear of cancel culture.

“Everyone thinks the Academy went too far. It’s ridiculous to tell us we have to regulate our work,” he said. “We talk about it amongst ourselves but it’s not worth speaking up publicly.”

The last several years of Best Picture winners actually already meet the criteria.


But other films nominated this year possibly would not qualify.

“’All Quiet on the Western Front’ would not have been nominated,” said the director of the World War I film with a historically accurate white male cast.

“In terms of ‘Elvis,’ there are probably enough women and minorities to hit 30 percent and qualify,” Jim Piazza, co-author of “Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History,” told The Post. “But many of those people are in dance and party scenes and on-screen briefly. How they count will be difficult. There will be a lot of caveats.”

“Going further back, think about ‘Schindler’s List.’ Should that not have been nominated since there were no non-white people in the primary roles?” asked the director, referencing the 1993 Spielberg movie which largely features white male actors. “I’m wondering if Jewish people would count for ‘underrepresented racial or ethnic group,’ but it would be up to the Academy to figure that out.”

Other macho classics that, these days, would likely fall by the Best Picture wayside: “Gladiator” and “All the President’s Men.”


“Imagine if great films were not made because of studio or corporate mandates that every film has to conform to the [inclusionary] standard for a Best Picture nomination?” the director said.

Besides casting, a film can meet standards by having people from underrepresented ethnic or racial groups involved in the making or creation of the movie, paid internships and training opportunities, and working on publicity, marketing or distribution.