The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility in the Best Picture category, as part of an initiative designed to encourage equitable representation on- and off-screen, and thus better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience.
Inspired by the British Film Institute’s standards used to determine certain funding eligibility in the UK and eligibility in some BAFTA categories, AMPAS’ new Best Picture requirements (detailed here) will be monitored for the Oscars to be held in 2022 and 2023, but won’t be mandatory until the 96th Academy Awards in 2024.
At that time, a film must meet two out of four standards (named below in bold) to be deemed eligible for Best Picture.
For example, to meet the most forward-facing standard, ON-SCREEN REPRESENTATION, THEMES AND NARRATIVES, a Best Picture contender must fulfill ONE of the following criteria:
* 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, or any other underrepresented race or ethnicity).
* At least 30 percent 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.
* The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group (see the four mentioned in item above)
The three other standards (all detailed here) involve CREATIVE LEADERSHIP AND PROJECT TEAM (i.e. diversity in department heads and other key roles), INDUSTRY ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITIES (including paid apprenticeships or internships for underrepresented groups), and AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT (diversity in marketing, publicity, and/or distribution staff).
The next, pandemic-delayed Academy Awards will be held April 25, 2021, and are not at all impacted by the above.