The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has done it again.
Just when you thought their preening, unfunny Oscar shows and ridiculous, politically correct acceptance speeches were the apex of their lunacy. Now, apparently, it’s not enough just to have made a great film, in order to be nominated for Best Picture.
Starting in 2024, according to a press release from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, there will be ‘new’ standards for all future Best Picture award nominations. From now on, all nominated films which aspire to a Best Picture nomination must be ‘diverse’, too.
This sounds a little like when they introduced the New Coke. What was so wrong with the Old Coke?
The Academy has also made clear what ‘diverse’ actually means, in the context of their new nomination standards.
The four categories in which the Academy expects films to comply with their new standards are known as “on screen”, “among the crew”, “at the studio”, and “in opportunities for training and advancement in other aspects of the film’s development and release.” Best Picture nominees must meet requirements in two of the four listed categories.
To meet these standards in the on-screen category (Standard A), the film must have at least one lead actor or “significant supporting actor” from what they call “an underrepresented racial or ethic group” (listing seven minorities), OR at least 30 percent of all actors in secondary and minor roles must be from at least two underrepresented groups, which are listed as women, racial or ethnic group, LGBTQ+, or people with cognitive or physical disabilities, or those who are hard of hearing or deaf. OR… the main storyline, theme or subject matter must focus on said underrepresented group.
In Standard B (in the studio), the Academy dictates to producers what type of people they may hire to fill behind the scenes roles in their productions, emphasizing their ethnic background, race, sexual orientation and/or disabilities.
In Standard C, the Academy dictates that apprenticeships and internship opportunities must be provided to underrepresented groups, as well as being hired on as crew members. Both these criteria must be met in Standard C.
Standard D insists that studios distributing these films must have multiple people of these underrepresented groups as senior executives on their marketing, publicity and distribution teams.
Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson stated in the release, “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.”
For the 2022 and 2023 Academy Awards, films which wish to compete in the Best Picture category must submit “a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form” but will not be required to meet all the standards set out today for 2024.
These new standards follow the 2016 Academy membership changes, which followed the “#OscarsSoWhite” Twitter campaign alleging that too many white people won Oscars because the Academy membership was itself too white. At that time, they reframed lifetime membership voting rights, added new governor’s seats and restructured committees, looking to achieve a much deeper diversity of membership.
The immediate response to these new announced standards from many industry people was outrage.
Outspoken actress Kirstie Alley made her reaction clear: “The Academy celebrates freedom of UNBRIDLED artistry expressed through movies. The new RULES to qualify for Best Picture are dictatorial… anti-artist… Hollywood you’re swinging so far left you’re bumping into your own a**. This is a disgrace to artists everywhere…can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his f***ing paintings. You people have lost your minds… Control artists, control individual thought… OSCAR ORWELL.”
I’ve been in the motion picture Academy for 40 years. The Academy celebrates freedom of UNBRIDLED artistry expressed through movies. The new RULES to qualify for “best picture” are dictatorial .. anti-artist..Hollywood you’re swinging so far left you’re bumping into your own ass
— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) September 9, 2020
Previous Oscar nominee James Woods suggested a parlor game to name any previous Best Pictures which did not adhere to these rules, which he said were “… most of them.” He added that the new standards were “madness”.
The Academy has given no indication as to whether previous Best Picture winners who did not practice this ‘woke’ diversity in days when only movie excellence mattered will be asked to return their Oscars with a written apology for their lack of awareness.
If so, the producers of GONE WITH THE WIND, ARGO, WEST SIDE STORY, SPOTLIGHT, TITANIC, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, ALL ABOUT EVE, MARTY, BEN-HUR and about fifty others may want to start boxing up their gold statuettes now, without waiting for official notification.
They’re coming for you.