The Academy Awards’ branding can be described in one hashtag: #OscarsSoWhite.
As a forever criterion hoe/former film student, I’m familiar with how the Oscars tend to disappoint people. There’s the usual Oscar snobbery, the lack of female filmmakers in major categories, and of course, incidents like the “La La Land”-“Moonlight” fiasco. Long story short: Diversity ain’t the Academy’s strong suit.
Turns out, that’s something they’ve been working on this quarantine.
In its latest efforts to not seem so straight and white, the film academy has announced its new representation standards for the Best Picture category. Would we finally see a group of directors who aren’t straight, white, and have one foot on their graves? Let’s see.
“Developed over the past few months by a special task force as part of the organization’s Academy Aperture 2025 initiative, the standards encompass both representation onscreen—in the types of stories being told and the actors involved—as well as behind the scenes in the makeup of the crew and in the inclusivity of the companies involved,” writes the LA Times.
If you want to aim for Best Picture, films should tick two boxes in these categories: “Onscreen Representation, Themes and Narratives,” “Creative Leadership and Project Team,” “Industry Access and Opportunities” and “Audience Development.” You can thank “task force” members such as Laura Dern, Whoopi Goldberg and one of its latest additions Ava DuVernay for this attempt at Hollywood diversity.
“Previously, the only standards to qualify for best picture involved a film’s running time (over 40 minutes) and specifics about how, where and when it’s screened in a public venue,” explains the LA Times. “Within each category are a variety of criteria involving the inclusion of people in underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people and those with cognitive or physical disabilities.” LA Times also added how other Oscar categories won’t be held to these similar standards, but contenders for best picture will have to adhere to it.
However these new standards wouldn’t be applicable until the 96th Oscars in 2024. That said, the fact that they’re finally doing this is a huge step for diversity. Y’know, something Hollywood isn’t known for.
Here are the new standards for the Oscars this 2024. To be honest, I’m torn between being excited and being cynical. They did invite interesting members like Zendaya and Awkwafina. Still, they are still predominantly white (81 percent) and male (67 percent). Go figure.
This might just be another publicity stunt. Still, better late than never. Insert mandatory shrug.gif here.
Still from “Oscars: 2014”