No More 'Oscars So White'? Academy Enacts Diversity Standard For Awards

BEVERLY HILLS (CNS) - Advancing efforts to bolster diversity on Oscar night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today it will develop “representation and inclusion'' standards for award eligibility, and will nominate 10 films in the best picture category instead of the current fluctuating number.

“While the Academy has made strides, we know there is much more work to be done in order to ensure equitable opportunities across the board,'' Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “The need to address this issue is urgent. To that end, we will amend -- and continue to examine -- our rules and procedures to ensure that all voices are heard and celebrated.''

As part of a phased diversity effort, the Academy plans to encourage “equitable hiring practices and representation on and off screen,'' and it will work with the Producers Guild of America and appoint a task force that will develop inclusion standards that will impact films' eligibility for awards. Those standards will be developed by the end of July, and they will take effect for films produced next year.

The standards will not apply to this year's films, and thus will not affect the upcoming 93rd Oscars.

Beginning with the 94th Oscars, the Academy will nominate 10 films in the best-picture category. The current rules allow for up to 10 nominees, but the number generally fluctuates from year-to-year, often ending up at less than 10.

The Academy also announced that all members of its Board of Governors will undergo mandatory “unconscious bias training,'' as will branch executive committee members and Academy staff. All of the Academy's more than 9,000 members will also be given the chance to take part in the training.

The Academy is also implementing term limits for board members. The limits allow board members to serve up to two three-year terms, followed by a two-year hiatus, after which their eligibility renews for another two three-year terms. There is a lifetime maximum of 12 years of service. Previous rules had no lifetime maximum.

In another step, the Academy will host a series of panel discussions titled “Academy Dialogue: It Starts with Us,'' which will be open to Academy members and the public. The series will feature discussions about “race, ethnicity, history, opportunity and the art of filmmaking.''

The measures are part of an inclusion initiative dubbed “Academy Aperture 2025,'' which is aimed at bolstering diversity within its ranks and in the overall film community. To oversee the effort, the Academy will establish an Office of Representation, Inclusion and Equity.

Photo: Getty Images

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