Oscars announce new inclusion requirements for Best Picture nominees

By Heather Cichowski, with files from Zach Harper

Inclusion and diversity are top of mind for many right now, and that includes the Oscars, which is making big changes to the Best Picture category.

On Sept. 8, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced new requirements for the Best Picture Oscar nomination eligibility to go along with standards in its Academy Aperture 2025 initiative.

"The standards are designed to encourage equitable representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience," a post on the Oscars website reads.

For the 2022 Oscars (94th Academy Awards) and the 2023 Oscars (95th Academy Awards), films will be required to submit a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form. Beginning with the 2024 Oscars (96th Academy Awards), the films must meet two of four standards to be eligible for a Best Picture nomination.

These requirements include meeting standards in relation to on-screen representation, themes and narratives; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development.

Some of the requirements include: having a least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, having at least 30 per cent of all actors in secondary and more minor roles in two of the following categories: women, racial or ethnic group, LGBTQ, people with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing; and having at least 30 per cent of the overall film crew's composition from the previously mentioned underrepresented groups.

Director Bong Joon Ho poses with his Oscar statues for Best Director and Best Picture for Parasite at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 9, 2020. Photo: © Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

“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 joint statement. “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”

All other categories will maintain their current eligibility requirements.

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The Academy has also made big changes to the 2021 Oscars due to COVID-19.

The 93rd Academy Awards has been moved from Feb. 28 to April 25 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

To go along with this, the Academy Awards' eligibility dates will also change. They will move from Dec. 31 to Feb. 28. The nominations will be announced March 15.

"Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone's control," Rubin and Hudson said in a joint statement at the time. "This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark an historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema."

The 2021 BAFTAs got pushed back for similar reasons. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts said in a statement in June that next year's new ceremony would be moved from February to April 11.

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