Academy Awards to Set Diversity Criteria for Best Picture Category

In 2016, the virtual absence of black nominees at the Oscars had given rise to the hashtag #oscarsowhite (Oscars so white) and to boycotts of the ceremony by several celebrities. More than four years later and in a context of strong mobilizations against racism, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Ampas), the corporate organization which manages the Oscars, presented Tuesday, September 8 a vast reform in the form of a list of precise criteria of eligibility for the best film category, intended to encourage diversity.

In 2024, for the 96e Academy Awards, a film wishing to be eligible for this category must meet two of the following four performance criteria:

  1. on the screen ;
  2. within the film crew;
  3. in training and access to the film industry;
  4. within the team responsible for the development and release of the film.
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And to meet the criteria for on-screen diversity, a work must meet at least one of these points:

  • a leading or an important supporting role comes from an under-represented “racial” or ethnic group;
  • at least 30% of secondary roles come from two under-represented groups (people from an under-represented “racial” or ethnic group, women, people who identify as LGBTQ + or people with disabilities);
  • the main plot, theme or story focuses on an under-represented group.

To meet the standard of representativeness within the team, a film must meet one of the following conditions:

  • at least two management positions or department heads (casting director, cinematographer, composer, costume designer, director, editor, hairdresser, makeup artist, producer, production designer, sound, special effects supervisor, screenwriter) come from an under-represented group and at least one from an under-represented “racial” or ethnic group;
  • at least six members of the film crew are from an under-represented “racial” or ethnic group;
  • at least 30% of the film crew is from an under-represented group.

The third category deals with paid internship and apprenticeship opportunities for people from under-represented groups as well as training opportunities. Finally, the fourth category imposes diversity criteria in the marketing, advertising and distribution teams.

“For lasting change”

These criteria will only concern the best film category, the only category for which all members of the Academy can vote.

In a statement, the president of the academy, David Rubin, and the CEO of the Oscars, Dawn Hudson, said they wanted “Reflect the diversity of our global population, both in the creation of films and in the audiences who attend them”. “We believe that these inclusive standards will be a catalyst for lasting and essential change in our industry”, they added.

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Academy Awards to Set Diversity Criteria for Best Picture Category