The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just announced a major change to its Oscar qualifying criteria. Starting in 2025, the Academy will only consider films that meet at least two of four new diversity standards when selecting best picture nominees.
Listing underrepresented groups in detail (Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native, Middle Eastern/North African, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, women, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities), the Academy explains that at least one member of said groups will have to be involved in the following film-related roles:
- Lead or significant supporting actors
- Creative leadership positions, departmental heads and crew composition
- Paid apprenticeships, internships and training
- Audience development, from publicity and marketing to distribution
As mentioned above, productions will have to meet at least half of the new standards, but not all. The new rules only apply to the best picture category.
"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 the official press release announcing the news. "We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry."
Films made in 2024 will have to meet these requirements to qualify for the 2025 ceremony but, until then, movie crews will have to submit an Academy Inclusion Standards form alongside their request to be considered for the award.
The news comes at the heels of a slew of backlashes that the Academy has had to deal with in recent years. Back in 2016, following the lack of nominations towards Black or minority actors, plenty of stars boycotted the ceremony and added fuel to the #OscarSoWhite movement. The low number of women within the Academy has also been cause for concern, a fact that led the body to accept 819 new members at this year's Oscars—45% of which are women and 36% of which are not white.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) introduced similar measures last year, requiring films to meet at least two of four "diversity standards" to be considered for the best British film and best British debut categories.
Whether the move qualifies as "too little, too late" is yet to be seen, but one thing's for sure: the Academy has been following through with its pledge to do its part in diversifying Hollywood.