Films Must Now Meet Diversity Requirements For Oscar Nomination
Watch any opening monologue or acceptance speech at the Oscars, and it’s likely there will be a joke made about the list of all-white nominees, most of which will be male. That the Oscars has been called out time and time again for a lack of diversity is hardly surprising, especially when such criticism even comes from Hollywood insiders themselves. From Eddie Murphy to Kim Bassinger and Halle Berry, calls to see the Oscars recognise marginalised voices and include more racially diverse nominations have continued over the years. And now, as protests over racial injustice reach breaking point in the United States, the Academy is finally listening.
It has been announced that the organisation that hands out the Academy Awards would form a group to develop diversity and inclusion guidelines necessary for those seeking to earn an Oscar. Any filmmaker that now wants to see their work receive an Oscar nomination will need to meet the set of criteria and guidelines. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, such a decision is one of many relating to a 5-year effort to promote diversity.
The group will work with the Producers Guild of America to convene a task force of industry leaders to develop “representation and inclusion standards” for Oscars eligibility by July 31 that will “encourage equitable hiring practices on and off screen.”
At present, the set of requirements are yet to be finalised or made known. It also is worth noti that the rules will not apply to films vying for Oscars at the next 2021 ceremony.
Academy Chief Executive Dawn Hudson said, “We know there is much work to be done in order to ensure equitable opportunities across the board. The need to address this issue is urgent.”
While a step in the right direction, the announcement has been a long-time coming as pressure on the Academy to increase diversity has been increasing. In 2015, the Oscars came under widespread criticism after the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite began trending due to an all-white field of acting contenders. While the Academy then doubled the number of women and people of colour in its invitation-only ranks, in 2019 just 32 per cent of nearly 8,000 members were women, and for people of colour, that percentage was even more staggering: just 16 per cent.
In addition to the announcement of a set of guidelines, the Academy will also guarantee 10 best picture contenders annually, rather than a fluctuating number up to 10.The hope is that by doing so, it will give more films a shot to win an Oscar.