Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences sets new Oscars Best Picture standards for diversity and inclusion

On Tuesday, as part of its recently-announced Academy Aperture 2025 initiative, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced new Oscars representation and inclusion standards in order for a film to be eligible in the best picture category, in order "to encourage equitable representation on and off-screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience.”

On Wednesday, GLAAD praised the Academy’s efforts, while simultaneously encouraging a further call-to-action for all of Hollywood to push forward with more change. 

“In the midst of a tipping point for the necessary expansion of diversity, inclusion, and more intersectional representation throughout Hollywood, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has taken a substantive step in the right direction to heed calls from the industry and audiences,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “This move should encourage all awards shows to go beyond statements and to take tangible actions that create level and equal playing fields for marginalized communities. We are hopeful that the Academy will soon follow suit with similar standards for other Oscar categories as well. The industry will not be truly inclusive until diverse talent is in place in all levels of production - as well as in fields including casting, marketing, and publicity - and pipelines through internships and apprenticeships have been created to develop a new generation of storytellers. The Academy just gave the industry a real reason to accelerate this critical effort and invest in talent and projects that embody diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Academy President David Rubin - who is a gay man - and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a joint statement, “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.” They continued,  “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”

The standards are designed to encourage equitable representation on and off-screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience. Academy governors DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos headed a task force to develop the standards that were created from a template inspired by the British Film Institute (BFI) Diversity Standards used for certain funding eligibility in the UK and eligibility in some categories of the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) Awards, but were adapted to serve the specific needs of the Academy. The Academy also consulted with the Producers Guild of America (PGA), as it presently does for Oscars eligibility.

On Wednesday, Rubin, Hudson, Franklin, and Gianopulos spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what went into the process of reaching these new standards. “The response I've gotten on social and email has been tremendous,” said Franklin. He added, “I think people are excited to see this proactive change and really feel like it's a step in the right direction. Finally, it feels like there's a commitment to representation and inclusion. And so the response so far, from my vantage point, has been wildly popular and incredibly exciting.”

As part of the Academy’s changes, for the 94th and 95th Oscars ceremonies, which are scheduled for 2022 and 2023, a film must submit a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form to be considered for best picture. Beginning in 2024, for the 96th Oscars, a film submitting for Best Picture will need to meet the inclusion thresholds by meeting two of the four standards. All other Academy categories will keep their current eligibility requirements.

For the 96th Oscars (2024), a film must meet TWO out of FOUR of the following standards to be deemed eligible:
 

STANDARD A:  ON-SCREEN REPRESENTATION, THEMES AND NARRATIVES

To achieve Standard A, the film must meet ONE of the following criteria:

A1. Lead or significant supporting actors

 

At least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

• Asian

• Hispanic/Latinx

• Black/African American

• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

• Middle Eastern/North African

• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

A2. General ensemble cast

 

At least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from at least two of the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

A3. Main storyline/subject matter

 

The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group(s).

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

 

STANDARD B: CREATIVE LEADERSHIP AND PROJECT TEAM

To achieve Standard B, the film must meet ONE of the criteria below:

B1. Creative leadership and department heads

 

At least two of the following creative leadership positions and department heads—Casting Director, Cinematographer, Composer, Costume Designer, Director, Editor, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Producer, Production Designer, Set Decorator, Sound, VFX Supervisor, Writer—are from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

At least one of those positions must belong to the following underrepresented racial or ethnic group:

• Asian

• Hispanic/Latinx

• Black/African American

• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

• Middle Eastern/North African

• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

B2. Other key roles

 

At least six other crew/team and technical positions (excluding Production Assistants) are from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. These positions include but are not limited to First AD, Gaffer, Script Supervisor, etc.

 

B3. Overall crew composition

At least 30% of the film’s crew is from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

 

STANDARD C:  INDUSTRY ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITIES

To achieve Standard C, the film must meet BOTH criteria below:

C1. Paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities

 

The film’s distribution or financing company has paid apprenticeships or internships that are from the following underrepresented groups and satisfy the criteria below:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

The major studios/distributors are required to have substantive, ongoing paid apprenticeships/internships inclusive of underrepresented groups (must also include racial or ethnic groups) in most of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

The mini-major or independent studios/distributors must have a minimum of two apprentices/interns from the above underrepresented groups (at least one from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group) in at least one of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

C2. Training opportunities and skills development (crew)

 

The film’s production, distribution and/or financing company offers training and/or work opportunities for below-the-line skill development to people from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

 

STANDARD D: AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT

To achieve Standard D, the film must meet the criterion below:

D1. Representation in marketing, publicity, and distribution

 

The studio and/or film company has multiple in-house senior executives from among the following underrepresented groups (must include individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups) on their marketing, publicity, and/or distribution teams.

• Women

• Racial or ethnic group

Asian

Hispanic/Latinx

Black/African American

Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native

Middle Eastern/North African

Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

​Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

• LGBTQ+

• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

All categories other than Best Picture will be held to their current eligibility requirements.  Films in the specialty feature categories (Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, International Feature Film) submitted for Best Picture/General Entry consideration will be addressed separately.

Academy Aperture 2025 is the next phase of the Academy’s equity and inclusion initiative furthering the organization’s ongoing efforts to advance inclusion in the entertainment industry and increase representation within its membership and the greater film community.

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ABOUT THE ACADEMY

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 10,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.