It’s a historic move: the Oscars are raising the bar for best photo nominees, starting with the 96th Academy Awards in 2024. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday made significant reforms for the best photo category, intended to diversity and fair representation on screen and off, paying attention to gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and disability.
The film academy has established four broad categories of representation: on screen; among the crew; in the studio; and in opportunities for training and advancement in other aspects of the development and release of the film.
Each standard also has detailed subcategories. To meet the on-screen display standard, a movie must have at least one protagonist or be a major supporting character from an under-represented racial or ethnic group, at least 30% of the secondary roles must be from two under-represented groups or the main storyline , theme or story must be aimed at an under-represented group. According to the academy, underrepresented groups include women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ +, or people with disabilities.
The prize for the best picture, which is awarded to the producers of a film, is the category that each member of the film academy can vote for. Earlier this year, the South Korean film “Parasite” became the first non-English language film to win the award.
All other categories will be held to their current entry requirements.
“The aperture needs to widen to reflect our diverse world population, both in filmmaking and the audiences who interact with it,” said Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson in a written statement. “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, vital change in our industry.”
The second category concerns the creative leadership and the composition of the crew of a film. To meet the standard, a film must have at least two executive positions or department heads who come from an under-represented group and at least one from an under-represented racial or ethnic group; at least six other crew members are from an under-represented racial or ethnic group; or at least 30% of the film crew is from an under-represented group.
The third category relates to paid internship, apprenticeship and training opportunities for below-the-line workers, and the fourth category concerns representation on marketing, publicity and distribution teams.
The admission standards form is confidential and is not required for the best photo hopeful for the 94th and 95th Academy Awards.
The inclusion standards were developed by a task force led by academy governors DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos and in consultation with the Producers Guild of America. They also took into account diversity standards used by the British Film Institute and the British Academy of Film and Television Awards.
These changes will also not affect the 93rd Academy Awards, although the academy has had to make a few changes due to the effects of COVID-19 on the film business, including moving the ceremony two months to April 25, 2021 and allowing movies that debuted on a streaming service to qualify for the best picture.
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr