Oscar: new diversity rules to compete for Best Picture

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences detailed how the new diversity rules that will be implemented in the requirements to compete for the Oscar will work. Since the announcement of the news, several speculations and rumors have arisen, so the Academy explained that the changes start to take effect only from 2022.

In recent years, the institution has been trying to diversify the list of honorees, covering cultures that are underrepresented in award ceremonies. The new rules will only affect candidates eligible for Best Picture; in the other categories, the definitions do not change. To this end, the Academy created four Inclusion Standards for a film to be on the list of the best of the year. In 2022 and 2023, they will have to fill out a confidential form in which they must meet one of these standards; as of 2024, those eligible must meet at least two of the criteria.

Pattern A: screen representation, themes and narratives

Best Film candidates must meet at least one of the requirements.

TO 1. Main actors

Among the key players or key players, at least one must be from one of the following ethnic groups: Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, Indians, from the Middle East, North Africa, Hawaiians or from other Pacific islands and other sub-ethnic groups represented.

A2. Cast

At least 30% of actors in minor or minor roles need to be from two of the following groups: women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQI +, people with cognitive or physical disabilities.

A3. Plot

The main story of the film should be focused on one of the groups: women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQI +, people with cognitive or physical disabilities.

Moonlight: ethnic diversity and LGBTQI + represented.Source: A24

Standard B: creative leadership and design team

Best Film candidates must meet at least one of the requirements.

B1. Creative leadership and department heads

Leadership positions or department heads (casting director, filmmaker, composer, costume designer, director, hairdresser, editor, makeup artist, visual effects supervisor, writer, set designer, sound editor, producer and production designer) must have at least two representatives of the groups: women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQI +, people with cognitive or physical disabilities.

At least one of these categories must belong to one of the ethnic groups: Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, Indians, from the Middle East, North Africa, Hawaiians or other Pacific islands and other underrepresented ethnicities.

B2. Other important functions

Another six people in important technical positions in the making of the film must represent an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

B3. Team

At least 30% of the entire production team must consist of groups: women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQI +, people with cognitive or physical disabilities.

Spotlight: cast is mostly white, but cinematographer is JapaneseSpotlight: cast is mostly white, but cinematographer is Japanese.Source: Open Road Films

Standard C: Industry access and opportunities

Best Film candidates must meet both requirements.

C1. Internship Program

The film’s producer or distributor needs to employ apprentices or interns from the groups: women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQI +, people with cognitive or physical disabilities. Major studios must have internship programs in most departments: production, post-production, music, visual effects, administration, distribution, marketing and advertising; smaller studios can have a minimum of two apprentices in these departments.

C2. Training and skills development opportunities

The film’s producer or distributor needs to offer skill development jobs or training opportunities for people in the groups: women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQI +, people with cognitive or physical disabilities.

The Shape of Water: women are the main focusThe Shape of Water: women are the main focus.Source: Fox Searchlight

Standard D: audience development

Best Film candidates must meet the criteria.

D1. Representation in marketing, advertising and distribution

The studio or production company must have several senior executives in the marketing, advertising and distribution teams who are represented by the following groups: women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQI +, people with cognitive or physical disabilities, Asian, Hispanic, black, indigenous, Middle East, North Africa, Hawaiians or other Pacific islands and other underrepresented ethnicities.

Black Panther: nominated for best film, production had mostly black castBlack Panther: nominated for the best film, production is mostly black cast.Source: Marvel

Criticism and impact on the industry

Looking at the past 10 years, many Oscar winners for Best Picture would easily meet two of the standards cited, but independent feature films, which rely on nominations as a form of advertising, may struggle to fit the requirements.

The large studios have already implemented internship programs and have very diverse marketing departments. Those who do not have the budget to assemble more diverse teams need to be assured in Standards A and B.

One of the problems, however, is the questioning of people’s sexuality when assembling a team or manipulating this information to become eligible. Even so, the new standards can give a renewed and increasingly diverse face to the most famous film awards.

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