For films to be considered for Best Picture, they must meet criteria that includes two of four standards: Standard A “Onscreen Representation, Themes and Narratives,” Standard B “Creative Leadership and Project Team,” Standard C “Industry Access and Opportunities” and Standard D “Audience Development.” Each standard has criteria requiring the inclusion of people in underrepresented groups, including women, people from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, LGBTQ+ people, and people with cognitive or physical disabilities or who are deaf or hard of hearing.
For example, Standard A requires at least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors to be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group; the general ensemble cast must include 30 percent of actors from at least two underrepresented groups; and/or the main storyline(s) theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group(s).
The Academy will require films for the 94th and 95th Oscars ceremonies, which take place in 2022 and 2023, to submit a confidential Academy Inclusions Standards form to be considered for Best Picture, though meeting the inclusion thresholds will not be required until the 96th Oscars in 2024. Currently, none of the other Oscars categories will be subject to the new standards.
“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,” Academy President David Rubin and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson said in a joint statement. “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”
The new standards were culled by a task force headed by Academy governors DeVon Franklin and Jim Gianopulos. They used a template inspired by the British Film Institute Diversity Standards used for both funding eligibility and governing eligibility of certain categories of the British Academy of Film and Television Awards, and the Academy also consulted with the Producers Guild of America.