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Films Will Be Required to Meet Diversity Quotas to Be Eligible for Best Picture Oscar Beginning in 2024

Oscar statuettes are lined up inside a glass case at a “Meet the Oscars” display in New York, N.Y., February 12, 2007. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Ahead of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy’s fifth anniversary, the Academy has announced a new set of inclusion requirements films must meet to be awards-eligible.

To be eligible for best picture, films must meet the standards of two out of four categories laid out in a press release on Tuesday: “Onscreen Representation, Themes and Narratives,” “Creative Leadership and Project Team,” “Industry Access and Opportunities” and “Audience Development.”

Recent best picture nominees including “1917” and “The Irishman” may have struggled to meet the new onscreen standards that will require at least one of the following criterion to be met: at least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group; at least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from certain underrepresented groups; or the main storyline, theme or narrative is centered on an underrepresented group.

To meet the creative leadership and project team standard, at least two “creative leadership positions and department heads” must be filled by those belonging to underrepresented groups, including the “casting director, cinematographer, composer, costume designer, director, editor, hairstylist, makeup artist, producer, production designer, set decorator, sound, VFX supervisor and/or writer.” At least six other crew positions must also be filled by those belonging to underrepresented groups. Such “positions include but are not limited to first AD, gaffer, script supervisor” and more. Production assistants are excluded.

The industry access and opportunities standard requires major studios/distributors to have “substantive, ongoing paid apprenticeships/internships inclusive of underrepresented groups.” While the audience development benchmark requires a studio or company to have “multiple in-house senior executives from” the outlined underrepresented groups.

The standards will not apply to other Oscar categories. 

The new standards will take full effect in 2024. In 2022 and 2023, films will be required to submit a confidential “inclusion standards” form but will not yet be required to meet the new thresholds. 

The organization said the goal of the new requirements being carried out under its new Aperture 2025 initiative is to “encourage equitable representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience.”

“Academy governors DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos headed a task force to develop the standards that were created from a template inspired by the British Film Institute (BFI) Diversity Standards used for certain funding eligibility in the UK and eligibility in some categories of the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) Awards, but were adapted to serve the specific needs of the Academy,” explained the release. “The Academy also consulted with the Producers Guild of America (PGA), as it presently does for Oscars eligibility.”

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