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Oscars academy imposes new diversity rules for the best picture Oscar, starting from 2024

The body that hands out the Academy Awards just yesterday published some important detailed inclusion and diversity guidelines that filmmakers will have to meet for their work to be eligible for the best picture Oscar, starting from 2024.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion pictures whose corporate management and general policies are overseen by a board of governors, includes representatives from each of the craft branches. Hence, the Academy has been highly criticized for honouring few movies and creators of colour, as the newly imposed standards are aimed to represent a new phase of a 5-year effort to promote diversity on and off-screen.

An Oscar statue stands along the red carpet arrivals area in preparation for the 92nd Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Image credit Reuters/Mike Blake

The instructions layout percentages or numbers of actors, production staff, marketing staff and internships on a movie that must be filled by people of colour, women, people with disabilities or people from the LGBTQ community.

However, since the new regulations will have to be implemented from 2024 onwards to allow filmmakers to adapt to the new standards, films vying for Oscars at the next ceremony in 2021 will not have to follow the new set of rules. Yet, the message is very clear: movies that want to be considered eligible for the best picture nomination at the 2024 Oscars will have to meet two of the four new standards, the Academy declared.

The four standards cover diversity representation among actors and subject matter; behind-the-camera staff, such as cinematographers and costume designers; paid apprenticeships and training opportunities; and marketing and publicity.

Director Spike Lee (L) embraces presenter Samuel L. Jackson as he wins the "Best Adapted Screenplay" award for "BlacKkKlansman" in 2019. Image credit Reuters/Yahoo! Finance

“We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry,” Academy President David Rubin and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson declared to the press.

The news comes after the several critics of the film academy which intensified in 2016 with the social media hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, a backlash against two consecutive years of an all-white field of acting contenders.

Hollywood has come under increased scrutiny too, in particular, after the mass protests over systemic racism in the United States and many countries worldwide, streaming service HBO Max added a disclaimer and an introduction to the 1939 Oscar-winning Civil War film “Gone with the Wind.”

Since 2015, the Academy has doubled the number of women and people of colour in its invitation-only ranks. The Academy’s more than 8,000 members vote to choose the Oscar winners.


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