Academy Awards 2020

The Academy Announces New Rules for the Best Picture Nominees

What are your thoughts regarding the new criteria?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced new standards for the eligibility of films in the Best Picture category. This is part of the Academy Aperture 2025 and will be implemented for the 94th and 95th Oscars in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Academy Aperture 2025 is the Academy’s initiative to promote equity and increase representation in the film community and the entertainment industry, in general.

According to the announcement released on the Academy’s website, film productions must submit a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards to be able to be considered for the Best Picture category. For the 96th Oscars (2024), films must also meet 2 of 4 of the standards required to be eligible for the award.

Note that the standards only apply for the Best Picture category. All other categories will still have the same eligibility requirements to qualify.

Here are the 4 standards for Best Picture Category:


STANDARD A:  ON-SCREEN REPRESENTATION, THEMES, AND NARRATIVES

Films must have one of the following criteria to achiever this standard:

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 centers on the underrepresented groups mentioned above.

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

This includes the following positions: Casting Director, Cinematographer, Composer, Costume Designer, Director, Editor, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Producer, Production Designer, Set Decorator, Sound, VFX Supervisor, Writer

  • At least two of the creative leadership positions and department heads are from underrepresented groups and one of those is from underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

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 underrepresented groups.

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 underrepresented groups and satisfy the criteria below:

  • Major studios must have ongoing paid internships in the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing, and publicity.
  • Independent studios, however, must have two interns from above mentioned underrepresented groups in 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 underrepresented groups.

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.

To read more about the new criteria, you may visit the Academy’s official website.

Homestream image taken from the Academy’s website.

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