Films wanting to be considered for Best Picture will need to prove they are more inclusive on and off-screen

By Alexia Fernandez
September 08, 2020 09:01 PM
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Academy Awards
Bryan Bedder/Getty

The race for the Best Picture Oscar is changing.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced new changes to the Best Picture Oscar nomination eligibility as part of its new inclusion standards in its Academy Aperture 2025 initiative.

The new changes will be required in the Best Picture category beginning with the 96th Academy Awards, set to air in 2024.

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

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

Under the new guidelines for Best Picture eligibility, films must meet two of four standards which are on-screen representation, themes, and narratives; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development.

In terms of on-screen representation, films must have at least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors represent an underrepresented racial group, with at least 30 percent of all actors in minor roles from underrepresented groups.

As a way to push for more diversity and inclusion behind the cameras, creative leadership on films is encouraged to be made up of women, underrepresented racial or ethnic group, a part of the LGBTQ+ community or people with disabilities.

30 percent of the film’s crew is encouraged to be made up of underrepresented communities, as well.

A new focus on including women, underrepresented racial or ethnic group, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities in paid apprenticeships and internships will also make a film qualify for the Best Picture category.

The Academy is also focusing on the representation of groups in the marketing, publicity and distribution of films, with hopes for higher inclusions of women, Latinx, Asian, Black and Indigenous groups.

This is the latest change brought on by the Academy.

In June, more than 800 artists were invited to join the Oscars voting group — 36 percent of whom were people of color while 45 percent were women.