This week, the Oscars announced new diversity standards for films to be eligible for Best Picture. The rules, which take effect in 2024, mark the first time the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made such an eligibility requirement, after years of efforts to diversify its membership.
In order for a film to compete for Best Picture, it must meet at least two out of four categories that focus on representation and inclusion in Hollywood: on-screen representation, creative leadership, industry access, and audience development. Films with narratives that focus on underrepresented groups will qualify, as well as films with studios or marketing teams that have multiple senior executives from underrepresented groups.
Although the announcement was met with criticism from conservative groups, the rules are broad enough that about three-quarters of the Best Picture winners from the last 15 years would have met the requirements had they been in place.
The Academy defines underrepresented groups as “women, racial or ethnic group, LGBTQ+, and people with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing.”
Earlier this year, the Academy announced that it met its goals to diversify membership. The 2020 class of new members was made up of 45% women and 36% people of color, although white men are the majority.