Entertainment Movies Oscars dramatically overhaul ‘diversity’ standards for film categories

Oscars dramatically overhaul ‘diversity’ standards for film categories

Regina King and Brad Pitt at this year's Academy Awards. Photo: Getty
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Films will need to meet set diversity standards in order to qualify for the best picture gong at the Oscars, in a dramatic overhaul announced on Wednesday.

From 2024, films must hit two of four categories when it comes to diversity, in a bid to increase equal representation in the screen industry.

The move comes as the Academy Awards – and others – have been criticised in the past for their lack of representation from the wider community.

In 2015 it came to a head after there were just two people of colour nominated in the Oscars – culminating in the #OscarsSoWhite activism hashtag. This year there were five.

To meet the new standards, film must have at least one lead or main character from an under-represented racial or ethnic group; a minimum of 30 per cent of secondary roles from two under-represented groups; or the overarching narrative or story line must centre around an under-represented group.

Under-represented groups include from ethnic backgrounds, LGBTQ+, people with cognitive or physical disabilities, and women.

The standards extend to behind-the-scenes crew, too.

April Reign is the woman credited with starting the #OscarsSoWhite groundswell.

“This is another step forward toward equity and inclusion, but we are far from there. I appreciate all of you who have discussed this issue or used the hashtag. This is progress for marginalised communities, championed by marginalised communities. We win together,” Reign said on Twitter following the announcement.

“As I’ve long said, the real change still has to start on the page, and with the studios who greenlight those films. The goal is to ensure more inclusive films get made that are told by/with/for traditionally underrepresented communities; the awards come much later.”

From 2022, films will need to submit a confidential “inclusion standards” form, the eligibility criteria won’t kick in until the 96th awards in 2024.

Korean film Parasite was the first non-English film ever to win best picture, at the awards earlier this year.

Next year’s awards have been pushed back to April 25, from February 28.