Five years ago the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was notoriously shamed for its lack of diversity and representation. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite caught on and raged hellfire among the netizens and cinephiles.
However, what was blatantly shocking was the following year in 2016, when the Academy Awards announced their list of nominees which failed to acknowledge the talents of any person of colour.
Many actors including Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith announced that they wouldn’t attend the ceremony. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President at the time, revealed that the Academy would review their membership and include people from different diversities from class 2016 and beyond.
In their attempt to further promote diversity on and off-screen, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced an Academy Inclusion Standard that will screen films for their inclusion of diversity to be eligible for nominations.
The new Inclusion Standards will come into effect starting with the 2024 ceremony and will screen films based on four requirements: inclusion of people of colour, woman, people with cognitive or physical disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community on the set as production members, marketing staff, interns and actors.
Furthermore, the film must be equally diverse and offer apprenticeships to people of different backgrounds and underrepresented groups either on screen or behind the camera.
Current Academy president, David Rubin along with CEO Dawn Hudson in a statement said that this means is necessary to reflect diverse global population so the audience can connect with them, either as actors or as someone behind the camera lens.
Diversifying the Academy:
Earlier the Academy had vowed to double the members who are non-white and women by 2020. This year, the Academy included 45% of women and 36% of underrepresented groups as members and thus, passing their membership goal.
This news comes in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter movement that has stirred the U.S. following the brutal killing of George Floyd due to police brutality in Minneapolis. The latest move takes more aggressive to reshape Hollywood and eliminate any racist tropes and harmful stereotypes.
At the 92nd Academy Awards, South Korean film, Parasite was the first non-English language film to win four leading awards – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film – and break the mould.
From 2022 onwards, motion pictures will be required to submit their Academy Inclusion Standard forms and by 2024, i.e., the 96th Academy Awards, the rules will be in full effect.