The Oscars are finally making some long overdue moves by adding a diversity requirement for all future years of nominations. And thankfully, they're already making significant progress with their new criteria for best picture eligibility.
On September 8, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that each film must meet at least two of four requirements, which explain that a certain percentage of cast members, behind-the-scenes staff, trainees and marketing teams must include minority groups, such as people of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Women were also included as an underrepresented group in the new requirement.
Filmmakers will have to meet these guidelines starting 2024, which means that the rules won't apply for the 2021 Oscars. However, in 2022 and 2023, all candidates will need to submit a "confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form" before they're considered.
In response to the controversial #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences assembled a task force strictly dedicated to establishing new inclusion standards for the awards show. The organization revealed that each nomination will need to meet certain eligibility requirements, so in the near future, we can expect to see more guidelines for other categories.
According to Aperture 2025, an ongoing initiative created to address these issues, their ultimate goal is to "encourage equitable hiring practices and ensure more diverse representation on and off screen."
The new guidelines won’t affect already submitted films. Still, Dawn Hudson (chief executive of the Academy) confirmed the change is a longtime coming.
“While the Academy has made strides, we know there is much more work to be done in order to ensure equitable opportunities across the board,” she said in a statement. “The need to address this issue is urgent. To that end, we will amend—and continue to examine—our rules and procedures to ensure that all voices are heard and celebrated.”
In addition to the diversity requirements, the Academy also revealed the Best Picture category will offer ten nominations. Prior to 2010, there were only five, and the number has fluctuated since then.
All we have to say is…it’s about damn time.