The Oscars Have Announced New Diversity Rules For The Best Picture Category

We don’t yet know whether the 2021 Oscars will be held “in person” or how, exactly, the categories will shake up due to a significant chunk of 2020 films holding tight until next year. So… Harley Quinn: Birds Of Prey for Best Picture? That’s doubtful, but as far as inclusion goes, the writing was on the wall a few months ago. Earlier this year, the Academy revealed that not only would there be (starting in 2022) 10 Best Picture nominees but that efforts to increase inclusion were on the way, hopefully before 2025.

The Oscars have now set rules to achieve that goal a year early. Beginning in 2024, here’s how the new Best Picture inclusion standards will go down — nominated films must achieve at least two out of four of these benchmarks, via the Oscars website:

– Nominees must, to the tune of at least 30% of a cast, include actors from underrepresented groups in “significant” roles;
– Same percentage as the above, but in regards to a nominated film’s behind-the scenes players, including both leadership and crew;
– Paid apprenticeships and internships (industry opportunities) must clearly be a priority for nominated films; and
– Audience development teams (marketing, publicity, and distribution) must also prioritize significant representation.

The declared rollout of these rules follow a record-setting year for Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite, which swept the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and International Feature Film (on behalf of South Korea) awards, among others. That the film is a universal tale that doubled as a stunning critique on classism feels fitting, given that the Academy wants to roll out new initiatives after said sweep. The movie reaped so many awards that the Snowpiercer director actually apologized to engravers for making them work so hard, and then the film went on to be a major Hulu hit, so yup, it’s time.

Finding 10 deserving nominees who meet the criteria is no short order, given that diversity hasn’t been a massive priority for some movies, so these new guidelines are adding in an adjustment period (the 2024 start date). Yet after a year when Parasite became the first non-English-language film (subtitles!) and first South Korean film to win Best Picture, anything is truly possible.

(Via The Oscars)

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