Oscars Announce New Inclusion Requirements for Best Picture Nominees

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) late last night (8th September 2020) announced a new set of regulations aimed towards encouraging filmmakers around the globe to consider diversity and inclusion within their hiring and casting process. In the near future, all productions wishing to be eligible for the prestigious Best Picture category at the Oscars must adhere to the new eligibility criteria.

Starting from 2022/2023, filmmakers must submit an “Academy Inclusion Standards Form” in order to be considered for the Best Picture category. This will be the first step towards all Oscar nominated films abiding by the regulation standards set to begin in 2024 for the 96th Academy Awards. To be eligible for selection at that ceremony, film productions must adhere to new inclusion standards in at least two of the following measures in order to qualify for consideration: 

A – On Screen Representation, Themes and Narratives 

B – Creative Leadership and Project Team

C – Industry Access and Opportunities 

D – Audience Development 

See below for the full list of standards.

2015 saw activist April Reign lead the hashtag protest #OscarsSoWhite after the clear lack of diversity amongst the 20 acting nominations for the 87th Academy Awards. Since then, the Academy and its board members have made a pledge to do more to improve the inclusivity of the nominations in a bid to improve the same issues that exist throughout the film industry. 

In 2016, then Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs declared that the Academy intended to double the number of female members within the Academy by 2020, a goal that she achieved at the start of this year. It seems this was just the start of the movement to achieve the desired Academy Aperture 2025 Initiative. 

In a statement released on Tuesday 8th September, Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said;

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


The full list of standards are as follows…

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 or 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


As of this release, the Best Picture category will be the only category effected by this new eligibility criteria, but nominees for the likes of Best Animated Feature and Best Documentary Feature will be separately moderated if they also earn consideration for the Best Picture category.

The Academy Aperture 2025 Initiative is the progressive movement of the Academy to work towards a more inclusive future for the Academy Awards. 

Charlie Gardiner

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