In a bid to boost representation and inclusion, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced a set of four standards, out of which two must be met for films to qualify for the Best Picture award. To be nominated for what is undoubtedly one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry, the films must employ a minimum number of cast, crew, and administrative employees from under-represented groups. Alternatively, they will also be eligible for the Best Picture award if they directly tackle the themes affecting minority groups.
The Academy also stated a detailed list of the under-represented groups which includes women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. The following are the areas where these groups must be involved in order to qualify for the award:
• On-screen acting and storylines, “including at least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group”
• Creative leadership positions, departmental heads, and crew composition
• Paid apprenticeships, internships, and training
• Audience development, from publicity and marketing to distribution
These requirements will only apply to the films made in 2024 for them to be eligible for the awards ceremony in the following year and going forwards. The announcement comes after the Oscars continue to receive backlash over the lack of diversity among both, the members of the Academy itself, and the Oscar nominees and winners selected. The year 2016, which saw little to no nominations of Black and minority actors also sparked the growth of the #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign from 2015 and saw stars threaten to boycott the awards altogether.
Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a joint statement: “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. We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”