The Academy Unveils New Inclusion Standards for 2021 Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the plans for its equity and inclusion initiative, which include having 10 Best Picture nominees at the 2021 Oscars.

By emily belfiore Sep 09, 2020 1:46 AMTags
Watch: 2020 Oscars: By the Numbers

UPDATE: Starting in 2024, films vying for a Best Picture nomination will need to meet new standards set by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Per a press release, the movie must meet two of the four following standards requirements: on-screen representation, themes, and narratives; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development.

To meet the criteria for on-screen representation, themes, and narratives, they need to have either one of the lead or significant supporting actors must come from an "underrepresented racial or ethnic group;" 30 percent of the cast must be made up of LGBTQ persons, women, underrepresented racial or ethnic people; or for the film to center around one of the aforementioned groups. 

Similar requirements apply to the remaining criteria.


The 2021 Oscars are going to look different next year.

On Friday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the Best Picture category for the 94th Academy Awards will feature 10 nominees as part of its Academy Aperture 2025 equity and inclusion initiative, which will take effect starting on July 31.


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Additionally, the Academy will be implementing a quarterly viewing process to ensure that members will have the opportunity to view films released year-round in an effort to "broaden each film's exposure, level the playing field, and ensure all eligible films can be seen by voting members," a statement from the Academy read.

This comes after the Academy received backlash for lacking diversity among its 2020 nominees, with only two people of color—Cynthia Erivo for her performance in Harriet and Antonio Banderas for his performance in Pain and Glory—being represented in the four major acting categories. The Academy was also slammed for not including any female directors in the Best Director category.

"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."

Strides towards more inclusion are taking place behind the scenes as well. Per the Academy, the equity and inclusion initiative also calls for adjusting its "governance, membership and workplace culture."

In January, the current Board of Governors participated in unconscious bias training, which is now mandatory for all Academy governors, branch executive committee members and Academy staff and will continue to occur annually.


Panels called "Academy Dialogue: It Starts with Us" will also be available to members and the public to foster conversations "on the systemic changes that need to occur in areas such as casting, screenwriting, producing, directing, financing and green-lighting of movies in order to afford opportunities to women and people of color and to help create a new narrative for recovery."

The Academy also passed a resolution enacting maximum term limits for its governors. Starting with the 2020-2021 board term, those on the Board of Governors can serve for up to two, three-year terms, consecutive or non-consecutive, followed by a two-year hiatus after which eligibility renews for up to two additional three-year terms, for a lifetime maximum of 12 years.

Prior to this, governors were allowed to serve three consecutive three-year terms with a one-year hiatus and no lifetime maximum.

As for promoting an inclusive workplace culture, the Academy will establish an Office of Representation, Inclusion and Equity to oversee the Aperture 2025 initiative and ensure the "implementation of best practices and accountability throughout the organization." To create more opportunities for inclusion, Aperture 2025 will also make strides in diversifying the Academy's "suppliers, investment opportunities and collections" through various programs that provide grants, promote diversity on film sets and celebrate aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters.

"Through the dedication, focus, and concerted effort of our Board of Governors and members on the branch executive committees, the Academy has surpassed the goals of our A2020 initiative. But to truly meet this moment, we must recognize how much more needs to be done, and we must listen, learn, embrace the challenge and hold ourselves and our community accountable," Academy President David Rubin said in a statement. "Academy leadership and our Board are committed to ensuring that we continue to weave equity and inclusion into the fabric of every Academy initiative, committee, program and event."

This story was originally Published on Friday,  Jun. 12, 2020 at 11:24 a.m. PST.