Oscars: New diversity targets announced for Best Picture nominees

"The standards are designed to encourage equitable representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience"

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced major changes to the qualifying criteria for the Best Picture category at the Oscars to improve the diversity of its nominees.

Set to come into effect for the 96th Oscars in 2024, the Academy say that their new guidelines are “designed to encourage equitable representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience”.

Four “standards” will be introduced to meet this goal, and films that are hopeful of being nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars from 2024 onwards must meet two of the four “standards” to be deemed eligible.

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Those four “standards” — each of which have sub-categories that are detailed here — are on-screen representation, themes and narratives; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development.

For example, the on-screen representation “standard” can be achieved if a film meets one of the following criteria:

  • 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 at least two underrepresented groups (women; racial or ethnic group; LGBTQ+; people with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing).
  • The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centred on an underrepresented group(s).

Parasite Oscars
The cast and crew of ‘Parasite’ at the Oscars 2020 (Picture: Getty)

“The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them. The Academy is committed to playing a vital role in helping make this a reality,” Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said about the reforms.

“We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”

For the 94th Oscars (2022) and 95th Oscars (2023), filmmakers will need to submit a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form if they wish to be considered for Best Picture.

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The Academy have also noted that all of their other awards categories (other than Best Picture) will be held to their current eligibility requirements.

Recent winners of Best Picture include Parasite, Green Book and The Shape Of Water.

The 2021 Oscars ceremony is currently set to take place on April 25, 2021 — although that date is not set in stone due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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