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Academy updates Best Picture criteria to encourage diversity

After years of #OscarsSoWhite, symbolic gestures, and finally adding to its ranks, it looks like The Academy is at long last taking significant steps towards addressing the lack of diversity seen at the Oscars.

The Academy on Tuesday announced new representation and inclusion standards that Best Picture nominees will have to meet in order to be considered beginning with the 96th Academy Awards in 2024. The standards seek to diversify Hollywood both on- and off-camera in order to create a more realistic representation of movie audiences.

“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 press release.  “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”

Beginning with the 96th Oscars, Best Picture nominees will have to meet two of four standards in order to be eligible for consideration:

  • On-Screen Representation, Themes and Narratives
    • At least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors must be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, OR
    • At least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from at least two underrepresented groups, including women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQ+, or people with cognitive or physical disabilities, OR
    • The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centered on one of the previously mentioned underrepresented group(s).
  • Creative Leadership and Project Team
    • At least two of the following creative leadership positions and department heads—Casting Director, Cinematographer, Composer, Costume Designer, Director, Editor, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Producer, Production Designer, Set Decorator, Sound, VFX Supervisor, Writer—are from the previously mentioned underrepresented groups, one of which must belong to an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, OR
    • At least six other crew/team and technical positions (excluding Production Assistants) are from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, OR
    • At least 30% of the film’s crew is from underrepresented groups.
  • Industry Access and Opportunities
    • The film’s distribution or financing company has paid apprenticeships or internships serving underrepresented groups, AND
    • The film’s production, distribution and/or financing company offers training and/or work opportunities for below-the-line skill development to people from underrepresented groups.
  • Audience Development
    • The studio and/or film company has multiple in-house senior executives from underrepresented groups (must include individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups) on their marketing, publicity, and/or distribution teams.

The 94th Oscars (2022) and 95th Oscars (2023) will not be required to use these standards, but a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form will be required for Best Picture consideration. Come 2024, all categories other than Best Picture will still be measured by the same criteria.

Zach Goins View All

Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Charlotte, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.

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