Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces new representation and inclusion standards for Best Picture Oscar

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility in the Best Picture category.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility in the Best Picture category.

As part of the Academy’s Aperture 2025 initiative, the standards are designed to encourage equitable representation on and off screen to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience, according to a news release. The Academy’s goals with Aperture 2025 are to further the dialogue and challenge its history to create a more equitable and inclusive community.

Academy governors DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos headed a task force to develop the standards, which were created from a template inspired by the British Film Institute (BFI) Diversity Standards used for certain funding eligibility in the U.K. and eligibility in some categories of the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) Awards, but were adapted to serve the specific needs of the Academy.

The Academy also consulted with the Producers Guild of America (PGA), as it presently does for Oscars eligibility.

“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,” said Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a statement. “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), submitting a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form will be required for Best Picture consideration. But meeting inclusion thresholds will not be required for eligibility in the Best Picture category until the 96th Oscars (2024).

For the 96th Oscars (2024), a film must meet two out of four of the following standards to be deemed eligible:

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 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

A3. Main storyline/subject matter

The main storyline or storylines, theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group or groups.
• 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 and 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 or 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 or 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 or distributors must have a minimum of two apprentices or 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 or 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

All categories other than Best Picture will stay with their current eligibility requirements. Films in the specialty feature categories (Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, International Feature Film) submitted for Best Picture/General Entry consideration will be addressed separately.

Academy Aperture 2025 is the next phase of the Academy’s equity and inclusion initiative furthering the organization’s ongoing efforts to advance inclusion in the entertainment industry and increase representation within its membership and the greater film community.

The Washington Post reviewed the past 15 years of Best Picture winners, dating back to 2005’s “Crash,” to see how much the new rules would change the outcome of the top Oscar contest. The analysis found that 73 percent of the winners would have met the new criteria without changing any casting practices or crew choices.

The WAPO’s examination found that the only Best Picture winners in the past 15 years that would have potentially faced challenges because they did not meet the criteria of A or B were 2007’s “The Departed,” 2008’s  “No Country for Old Men,” 2012’s “The Artist” and 2013’s “Argo.”

-BAM

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