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Poll: Americans Dislike Diversity Requirements for the Academy Awards

An Oscar statue stands in an outdoor shopping center located next to the Academy Awards venue as preparations for the ceremony continue in Los Angeles, Calif., February 7, 2020. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

A new national poll commissioned by the Daily Wire suggests that a plurality of Americans oppose the Academy Awards’ new “representation and inclusion standards” for the Best Picture Oscar award.

Announced last September, the new inclusion policy requires that a film meet two out of four standards crafted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to be considered eligible for a “Best Picture” nomination or award. (You can read the full list of standards here, but be forewarned, you may never be able to unroll your eyes.)

This new survey, conducted by SurveyMonkey on behalf of the Daily Wire, polled more than 1,000 American adults and had a 3 percent margin of error. The sample was split evenly among political viewpoints, with 35 percent identifying as Democrats, 32 percent identifying as Republicans, and 33 percent identifying as Independents.

About two-thirds of respondents said that “films should solely be judged on their artistic merits” when being considered for the Oscars, while 24 percent of respondents said “diversity should be a significant factor” in the decision-making process.

After being shown the inclusion rules from AMPAS, a plurality (50 percent) of respondents said they oppose them, including 32 percent who said they “strongly oppose” them. Thirty-five percent said they favor the rules, and 13 percent said they “strongly favor” them.

Respondents were fairly evenly divided on the question of how the new policy will affect the quality of films: Thirty-nine percent said the rules will make films worse, while 33 percent said they would make films better. About one-third of respondents said they aren’t sure what affect the rules might have on film quality.

But respondents to the poll were largely agreed on two major points. About three-quarters of Americans said that award winners “should avoid making political speeches and comments.” That included majorities of Democrats, non-white Americans, and respondents who planned to watch the Oscars. Only 29 percent of respondents agreed with the view that “award winners should make political speeches and comments.”

Meanwhile, only 11 percent of respondents said they would definitely watch the Academy Awards presentation, and 22 percent were likely to watch it. About three-quarters of Republican respondents indicated they were not likely to watch the program, and 63 percent of them cited the show’s increasingly political tenor as their main reason.

Just 22 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “The Oscars are too white” as a reason for disliking the program.

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