A Big Change Is Coming To The Oscars To Promote Inclusivity And Diversity

In an effort to improve representation and inclusion, the organizers of The Academy Awards have announced a big change to eligibility requirements for the highly coveted Best Picture category. Starting in 2024, to be eligible for Best Picture, a movie must meet two out of four standards regarding on-screen and behind-the-camera representation.

While there are four main standards, there are multiple potential criteria that a movie can reach to earn that standard. The first is Standard A. To reach this threshold, a movie must have at least one of the lead actors or a significant supporting actor from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group:

  • Asian
  • Hispanic/Latinx
  • Black/African American
  • Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native
  • Middle Eastern/North African
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

Standard A2 pertains to the ensemble cast. At least 30 percent of all actors in minor roles must be from at least two of these groups:

  • Women
  • Racial or ethnic group
  • LGBTQ+
  • People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

Standard A3 pertains to the storyline and subject matter of the film. This must focus on an underrepresented group such as women, a racial or ethnic group, LGBTQ+, or people with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Standard B pertains to behind-the-camera workers. And in this group, one criteria must be met regarding similar representation for underrepresented groups.

Standard C, meanwhile, pertains to the movie’s distribution or financing company. These companies must demonstrate that they have paid internships for people in underrepresented groups, while the companies must also show that they have training opportunities and skills development programs for underrepresented groups.

Standard D relates to representation in marketing, publicity, and distribution. The film studio must have multiple senior executives from underrepresented groups such as women and racial and ethnic groups, along with LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities.

These new rules only apply to the Best Picture category. Additionally, the 2022 Oscars and the 2023 Oscars will require studios to submit a “confidential” report about their inclusion standards, but it won’t be a requirement to meet the new thresholds until 2024.

You can see the full rundown of the new inclusivity requirements below, as posted by The Academy on its website.

The 93rd Academy Awards will be held in 2021, but they won’t occupy their traditional February spot on the calendar. Instead, Variety reports, the Oscars have been officially pushed back from February 28 to April 25, due to concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

New Academy Award Inclusivity Requirements

For the 96th Oscars (2024), a film must meet TWO out of FOUR of the following standards to be deemed eligible:

STANDARD A: ON-SCREEN REPRESENTATION, THEMES AND NARRATIVES

To achieve Standard A, the film must meet ONE of the following criteria:

A1. Lead or significant supporting actors

At least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

• Asian

• Hispanic/Latinx

• Black/African American

• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

• Middle Eastern/North African

• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

A2. General ensemble cast

At least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from at least two of the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

A3. Main storyline/subject matter

The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group(s).

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

STANDARD B: CREATIVE LEADERSHIP AND PROJECT TEAM

To achieve Standard B, the film must meet ONE of the criteria below:

B1. Creative leadership and department heads

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 following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

At least one of those positions must belong to the following underrepresented racial or ethnic group:

• Asian

• Hispanic/Latinx

• Black/African American

• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

• Middle Eastern/North African

• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

B2. Other key roles

At least six other crew/team and technical positions (excluding Production Assistants) are from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. These positions include but are not limited to First AD, Gaffer, Script Supervisor, etc.

B3. Overall crew composition

At least 30% of the film’s crew is from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

STANDARD C: INDUSTRY ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITIES

To achieve Standard C, the film must meet BOTH criteria below:

C1. Paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities

The film’s distribution or financing company has paid apprenticeships or internships that are from the following underrepresented groups and satisfy the criteria below:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

The major studios/distributors are required to have substantive, ongoing paid apprenticeships/internships inclusive of underrepresented groups (must also include racial or ethnic groups) in most of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

The mini-major or independent studios/distributors must have a minimum of two apprentices/interns from the above underrepresented groups (at least one from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group) in at least one of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

C2. Training opportunities and skills development (crew)

The film’s production, distribution and/or financing company offers training and/or work opportunities for below-the-line skill development to people from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

STANDARD D: AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT

To achieve Standard D, the film must meet the criterion below:

D1. Representation in marketing, publicity, and distribution

The studio and/or film company has multiple in-house senior executives from among the following underrepresented groups (must include individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups) on their marketing, publicity, and/or distribution teams.

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

  • Asian
  • Hispanic/Latinx
  • Black/African American
  • Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native
  • Middle Eastern/North African
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • ​Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot’s parent company

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