Oscars set minimum diversity rules for best picture prize
LOS ANGELES, Sept 9, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Hollywood’s motion picture academy
unveiled strict new eligibility rules to boost diversity among best picture
Oscars nominees and the wider movie industry in a landmark announcement
From 2024, all films hoping to win Tinseltown’s most coveted prize will
need to either employ a minimum number of cast, crew and administrative
employees from under-represented backgrounds, or directly tackle themes
affecting those communities.
The groundbreaking move comes after years of criticism over a lack of
diversity among the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ members, and
among the Oscar nominees and winners they select.
While the Academy has already taken steps to diversify its membership,
Tuesday’s new rules mark a more aggressive bid to re-shape Hollywood’s
broader performance on diversity.
“We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting,
essential change in our industry,” said President David Rubin and CEO Dawn
Hudson in a statement.
Under the new rules, films vying for best picture will need to comply with
at least two of four criteria designed to improve hiring practices and
representation on and off screen.
The first criteria requires the movie to feature either a prominent actor
from an underrepresented group, 30 percent of its smaller roles from
minorities, or to address issues surrounding these communities as its main
The second stipulates that behind-the-scenes senior leadership or
technical crew members must be drawn from historically disadvantaged groups,
which also include women, LGBT and disabled communities.
The final two measures concern offering internships and training to
underrepresented workers, and diversity in the movie’s marketing and
– Push for diversity –
Since 2015 and the #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign, the Academy has
made concerted efforts to broaden its membership.
The board of governors vowed to double the number of women and non-white
members by 2020, following calls to boycott the glitzy Oscars.
The Academy surpassed those membership goals, with 45 percent of this
year’s intake women, and 36 percent minorities.
The latest move is the product of a new diversity task force announced in
June — weeks after mass anti-racism protests swept the United States
following the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
The standards are based on those already employed by Britain’s BAFTA, and
“are designed to encourage equitable representation on and off screen in
order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience,” said the
Films contending for the best picture Oscar in 2022 and 2023 will not be
bound by the rules, but will need to submit to the Academy confidential data
on the movies’ diversity based on the new criteria.
The Academy also recently began hosting a series of panel discussions on
racist tropes and harmful stereotypes in Hollywood films.