A few months ago, it seemed like the wildest thing that would happen with the Oscars this year was the unprecedented decision to tweak the eligibility requirements for potential nominees because of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by the announcement that the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences would be postponing the Oscars for only the fourth time ever (also because of the pandemic). But now, the Academy has announced an even bigger change: Starting with the 96th Oscars in 2024, in order to be considered for a Best Picture nomination, a movie will need to meet a couple of new inclusion and representation guidelines that are designed to essentially force diversity onto the movie industry. All other categories will stay the same and animated films, documentaries, and international films that are up for Best Picture will be “addressed separately.”
That comes from Variety, which says the Oscars will ramp up to this change in 2022 and 2023 by requiring potential Best Picture nominees to submit a “confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form”—meaning you’ll have to detail whether or not your meet the requirements, though you won’t be rejected if you don’t meet them until 2024. As for those inclusion standards, they really are something. The basic rule is that a movie will need to meet at least two of the four standards, which are as follows:
A: A film can meet this in one of three ways, either by having at least one lead or “significant supporting” actor come from an “underrepresented racial or ethnic group” (there’s a specific list and everything), by making sure that “at least 30 percent” of all actors in smaller roles come from an underrepresented group (there’s a second list that includes women, LGBTQ people, and people with cognitive or physical disabilities), or by having the main plot of a film center on people from the aforementioned underrepresented groups.
B: This is essentially the same but for behind-the-scenes people, requiring a movie to have at least two people from underrepresented groups working in “creative leadership positions” or as department heads (director, hairstylist, writer, producer, etc.). A film could also meet this by having six crew members (gaffer, script supervisor, etc.) or 30 percent of its crew come from underrepresented groups.
C: This one deals with opportunities for people to get their foot in the door of the movie industry though internships and apprenticeships. To meet this, a film’s distributor or financing company must offer paid internships to people from underrepresented groups, with different rules for major studios and smaller indies. They could also meet this one by offering training opportunities for “below-the-line skill development” for people from underrepresented groups.
D: A movie can meet the final category by having “multiple” senior executives working on marketing, publicity, or distribution from underrepresented groups (all of these groups are, again, specifically listed).
To repeat, a movie will need to meet two of these guidelines in order to be considered for Best Picture by 2024, with the Academy saying in a statement that this is being done to “reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them.”