AMPAS announces new diversity requirements for best picture nominees at Oscars

Los Angeles, Sep 9 (PTI):

 In yet-another move towards becoming more inclusive, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has unveiled new representation and inclusion standards for the best picture Oscar category.

The Academy said all the films must meet the new criteria in terms of representation in order to be eligible for the top award, beginning in 2024.

The standards, developed by a task force headed by governors DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos, aims to “encourage equitable representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience”, the Academy added.

Films vying for a nod in the best picture category must meet at least two of four benchmarks — at least one lead character or a significant supporting character be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

It also mandates that at least 30% of secondary roles must be from two underrepresented groups or the main storyline, theme or narrative must be focused on an underrepresented group.

The underrepresented groups include women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQ community and people with cognitive or physical disabilities.

A similar criteria has been introduced in terms of those working on the film behind the scenes — a significant commitment to paid apprenticeships, internships and career development; and significant representation among the teams devoted to marketing, publicity and distribution.

The Academy has been actively working to introduce more diversity in its ranks to avoid a controversy like 2016 when the Oscars were dubbed “white” for failing to recognise talents of colour.

“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,” Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement.

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

During the Oscar campaigns in 2022 and 2023, movies will have to submit a confidential “inclusion standards” form, but that will not prevent eligibility until the 96th Academy Awards.

The changes will not affect the 93rd Academy Awards, which have been delayed by two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The award ceremony will be held on April 25, 2021.

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