The Oscar’s New Rules Move Towards Inclusivity

By Amy Hernandez


The film industry has failed to be inclusive in the past, and awards shows are part of the reason why Hollywood lacks diversity. For too long, we’ve had to watch movies without any people from underrepresented groups and see those films win the highest of accolades year after year. Other times, even movies that center around a person from an underrepresented group gets whitewashed and overshadowed by white saviors. It’s a shame that in 2020 we still see the film and TV industries adopt stories that lack the diversity we see in our real-life societies. It’s also frustrating because movies and television series are getting repetitive and boring with similar storylines. Many people in the industry don’t realize that films need diversity to create unique stories that move us. Last year was historical when Parasite won the Academy Award for best picture because it became the first non-English language film to win the award. It’s unfortunate that many international films don’t get the attention and credit they deserve in the United States simply because they’re not filmed in English. For some reason, reading subtitles is too difficult for some of us. Parasite’s success was a win for so many minority groups since it proved a foreign language film can find success in the United States. This year, I hope the incentives the Oscars are implementing with its new rules for contention will lead to more representation and originality.


The Oscars’ New Rules for Contention

The new representation and inclusion rules for the Best Picture category will be put in effect for the 96th Oscars in 2024. Films for the Best Picture category must meet two of the new four standards to become eligible. The following criteria have been taken directly from the Oscars’ web page.


STANDARD A: ON-SCREEN REPRESENTATION, THEMES, AND NARRATIVES

To achieve Standard A, 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 centered 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

To achieve Standard B, 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—are 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


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

To achieve Standard C, 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

To achieve Standard D, 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


The Future of Major Motion Pictures

These rules may not guarantee that the Oscars become more diverse, but it is a step in the right direction as far as pushing for representation goes. Regarding the new rules, the Academy president David Rubin and Academy CEO awn Hudson stated, “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.” In truth, some of these standards could be easily met even by past nominated films like Joker, La La Land, The Irishman, and 1917. Therefore, whether Hollywood truly becomes more diverse is still to be determined.



Amy Hernandez is an editorial intern dedicated to researching and writing about all things skincare, film, and fashion.

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