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Academy Changes Criteria for Future Best Picture Nominees

It is no secret that the Academy Awards, commonly known as the Oscars, has come under fire in recent years. With many movie fans, creators and actors alike previously coming together to denounce the award show, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is now taking a stand with their audience.

In 2015, the #OscarsSoWhite social justice campaign was created to highlight a pattern some had noticed in the top directors and films, which tended to feature white, cisgender men as the vast majority. Since 2015, this hashtag trends again every year when the list of nominees is revealed to the public. With the Black Lives Matter movement picking up around the same time as this social outcry, the Academy took strides to increase its racial inclusivity, with “13 winners of color [taking] home awards in 2019,” according to an article written by the New York Times.

Despite the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag being created five years ago, no concrete plan to change the way films were nominated for awards had been put into place until now. In the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences official statement released on Sep. 8, the details of this plan were outlined. There will be four official standards that a movie can meet in order to qualify for a Best Picture nomination, and the film must adhere to at least two of the four standards.

Standard A is that the film must include on-screen representation, themes and narratives for minority groups. Standard B is that the film must be made by a creative leadership and project team that has minorities in leadership positions. Standard C is that the film’s distribution or financing company has given internship and learning opportunities to minorities hoping to get into the film industry. Standard D is that the marketing of the film for the audience must include minority groups. Anyone interested can read the official statement by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences here. These standards will be included in the previously announced Academy Aperture 2025.

While this plan will not officially go into full effect until 2024, there are other measures being taken as well. These previously announced measures include a currently airing YouTube series entitled Academy Dialogues: It Starts With Us, which aims to talk about inclusion in film in an educational and nonjudgmental tone, as well as the Academy Aperture 2025, which created the building blocks for the recently announced four-step plan for Best Picture nominations and is what this plan is considered a part of. As well as these efforts, beginning in 2022, each film hoping to be considered for Best Picture must submit a confidential academy inclusion standard form. These steps are all being taken as a way to encourage the film industry to think about inclusion in the first place rather than as an afterthought.

These new criteria for awards will be sure to change the film industry and the way diversity is included in movies. Audiences should expect to see a difference on their screens in the coming years, and actors should expect to see a difference in their scripts.

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Grace is a freshman at Florida State University pursuing a degree in psychology. Grace loves to write and she has been doing so for several years. Her favorite food is pasta, and she is a huge One Direction fan.
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