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From the year 2024, production houses that want to see their film to be nominated for the Best Picture must satisfy inclusion standards both in front end work as well as in back end work.

In order to create a difference in the industry and society, the Academy has geared up to create strict criteria for the award of Best Picture category, the process of which will start from 2022. As a part of the Academy Aperture initiative, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has introduced a set of standards which the films have to ensure in order to have any chance in winning the Best Picture category at the Oscars. The Best Picture initiative will come in full force from the 96th Oscars ceremony in the year 2024.

DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos will lead a panel to ensure the success of the Aperture that was inspired by the principles of British Film Industry Diversity Standards and eligibility in some categories of British Film Academy. The Academy had also consulted Producers Guild of America.

The President of Academy Dave Rubin as well as its CEO Dawn Hudson made a joint statement regarding this. The statement said that the Aperture initiative would bring a change in the industry and will make sure that it is reflecting all sections of the society as well as the audience who connect with it.

The statement read that they hope the initiative works as a “catalyst” in bringing a turnaround in the areas of diversity which is the need of the hour.

In the Academy Award functions of 2022 and 2023, there will be an Academy Inclusion Standards form for the Best Picture, but the nominees will not be subject to Inclusion thresholds which will come into effect only at the 96th Academy Award ceremony to happen in 2024.

The Academy has basically introduced four standards and films looking to get a nomination at the 96th Oscars ceremony will have to satisfy at least two of those standards. The four standards are (1) Standard A- On-Screen Representation, Themes and Narratives, (2) Standard B-Creative Leadership & Project Team, (3) Standard C- Industry Access and Opportunities, (4) Standard D-Audience Development.

In each of these standards, the Academy expects a film to satisfy some specific inclusion criteria, which is basically to ensure that marginalized groups are getting equal employment, treatment, and opportunities. This is the next step to ensure equal representation throughout the industry.

The marginalized groups or in other words, the underrepresented groups that have been included are people from racial groups and ethnicity, women, the LGBT community, and People with cognitive or physical disabilities.

The racial or ethnic group as decided by Academy envelops Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, African American, Indigenous/Alaskan Native/Native American, Middle Eastern, Northern American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, or other underrepresented racial or ethnic communities.

The category C of the inclusion criteria makes it compulsory for the film distributors and major studios to provide paid internships and other opportunities for exposure of industry to underrepresented groups.

This is a great step forward in the equality movement that has picked up the pace ever since the Harvey Weinstein incident and will be a catalyst in ensuring that there are enough people from all groups so that any newcomer from any group doesn’t feel secluded or insecure in the industry. If enough women, black people or people with ethnicity are included in the industry, then incidents of racism, sexism, sexual harassment or any other form of discrimination are less likely to happen.

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Source: New Best Picture Criteria for Oscars Starting 2024

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