Oscar best picture contenders must meet inclusion eligibility standards from 2024

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All best picture contenders for the Oscars will be required to meet representation and inclusion standards from 2024, said the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday (September 8).

The initiative falls under the auspices of equity and inclusion initiative Academy Aperture 2025 and also places the onus on a contender’s distributor or financier with regard to apprenticeships, and marketing, publicity, and distribution departments.

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All categories other than best picture will be held to their current eligibility requirements. Films in the specialty feature categories (animated feature film, documentary feature, international feature film) submitted for best picture/general entry consideration will be addressed separately.

Academy governors DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos headed a task force to develop the standards that were created from a template inspired by the British Film Institute’s diversity standards used for certain funding eligibility in the UK and eligibility in some categories of the Bafta awards. 

The Academy also consulted with the Producers Guild of America as it presently does for Oscars eligibility.

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

“We welcome AMPAS’s announcement of representation and inclusion standards inspired by our own BFI Diversity Standards,” said Ben Roberts, chief executive of the BFI. ”It’s fantastic to see the framework adapted by our international colleagues to fit their specific requirements. As we begin to see broader adoption of the Standards in the UK and beyond, we will continue to review them to ensure they are having maximum impact.” 

Marc Samuelson, chair of the Bafta film committee, added: “BAFTA introduced very similar standards in conjunction with the BFI for the Outstanding British Film and Outstanding British Debut categories in 2016 and we continue to review and expand these standards every year. We look forward to continuing our work with AMPAS, the BFI and other industry bodies to introduce universal diversity standards adopted in all BAFTA’s Film Awards’ categories by 2024”.

For the 2022 and 2023 Oscar awards, submitting a confidential Academy inclusion standards form will be required for best picture consideration, however officially meeting inclusion thresholds will not be required for eligibility in the best picture category until the 2024 Oscars.  

A film must then meet two out of four of the following standards to be deemed eligible:

Standard A: On-screen representation, themes and narratives

The film must meet one of the following criteria:

A1. Lead or significant supporting actors

At least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

• Asian

• Hispanic/Latinx

• Black/African American

• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

• Middle Eastern/North African

• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

A2. General ensemble cast

At least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from at least two of the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

A3. Main storyline/subject matter

The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centred on an underrepresented group(s).

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

Standard B: creative leadership and project team

The film must meet one of the criteria below:

B1. Creative leadership and department heads

At least two of the following creative leadership positions and department heads – casting director, cinematographer, composer, costume designer, director, editor, hairstylist, makeup artist, producer, production designer, set decorator, sound, VFX supervisor, writer – must be from underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

At least one of those positions must belong to the following underrepresented racial or ethnic group:

• Asian

• Hispanic/Latinx

• Black/African American

• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

• Middle Eastern/North African

• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

B2. Other key roles

At least six other crew/team and technical positions (excluding production assistants) are from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. These positions include but are not limited to First AD, gaffer, script supervisor, etc.

B3. Overall crew composition

At least 30% of the film’s crew is from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

Standard C: industry access and opportunities

The film must meet both criteria below:

C1. Paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities

The film’s distribution or financing company has paid apprenticeships or internships that are from the following underrepresented groups and satisfy the criteria below:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

The major studios/distributors are required to have substantive, ongoing paid apprenticeships/internships inclusive of underrepresented groups (must also include racial or ethnic groups) in most of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

The mini-major or independent studios/distributors must have a minimum of two apprentices/interns from the above underrepresented groups (at least one from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group) in at least one of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

C2. Training opportunities and skills development (crew)

The film’s production, distribution and/or financing company offers training and/or work opportunities for below-the-line skill development to people from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

Standard D: audience development

The film must meet the criterion below:

D1. Representation in marketing, publicity, and distribution

The studio and/or film company has multiple in-house senior executives from among the following underrepresented groups (must include individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups) on their marketing, publicity, and/or distribution teams.

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group:

· Asian

· Hispanic/Latinx

· Black/African American

· Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

· Middle Eastern/North African

· Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

· Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing.

  • 2020 Britannia Awards in Los Angeles postponed due to pandemic

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