In an effort to combat non-inclusive hiring standards in the film industry, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has introduced a mandatory diversity standard that films must meet in order to qualify for a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
Coming into effect in 2024 for the 96th Academy Awards, the new standards require films to achieve true diversity in at least two of the following four categories in order to qualify: on-screen representation; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development.
In doing so, the Academy aims to better showcase the contributions of women, members of the LGBTQI+ community, people with physical or cognitive disabilities — including people who are deaf or hard of hearing — and people from different racial or ethnic groups.
The change comes off the back of ongoing criticism and backlash towards the Oscars’ lack of diversity (remember #OscarsSoWhite?) both within its nominees and voting body, with the Academy hoping to turn it around by making the changes mandatory.
As the changes won’t come into place immediately, films in contention for Best Picture over the next three years won’t be immediately disqualified for not meeting the criteria, however they will need to submit a form addressing the standards. Films currently in production have three years to ensure they do, with any films rejecting the criteria to be disqualified from nomination.
Based off existing diversity standards implemented by the British Film Institute and the British Academy of Film and Television, the measures are limited to the Best Picture category until further notice.
In a statement on Tuesday, Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said, “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”