The Oscars have been allowing between 5-10 films to be nominated for Best Picture each year, but that’s about to change. Today, the Academy announced they will be locking the number of Best Picture noms at 10, and they’ll also be putting representation and inclusion standards for eligibility in place. It’s worth noting that these changes won’t go into effect until the 94th Academy Awards.
Today, the Academy announced big changes in store for the future of the Oscars. “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,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “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.”
Academy President David Rubin added: “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 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.”
The changes will include locking the number of Best Picture nominees at 10, instead of randomly changing the number every other year. The Academy will also “encourage equitable hiring practices and representation on and off-screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the film community.” There aren’t many specifics yet, but a new task force will “develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility by July 31, 2020.” This means the 93rd Academy Awards, which would cover the films released this year, won’t be part of the new changes.
As the Academy website states:
Beginning with the 94th Academy Awards (2021), the Best Picture category will be set at 10 nominees, rather than a fluctuating number of nominations from year to year. The Academy will also implement a quarterly viewing process through the Academy Screening Room, the streaming site for Academy members, also starting with the 94th Academy Awards. By making it possible for members to view films released year-round, the Academy will broaden each film’s exposure, level the playing field, and ensure all eligible films can be seen by voting members.
To ensure more diverse representation, and in collaboration with the Producers Guild of America (PGA), the Academy will create a task force of industry leaders, appointed by David Rubin and that will include governor and A2020 Committee chair DeVon Franklin, to develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility by July 31, 2020. Eligibility for films in consideration for the 93rd Academy Awards (2020) will not be impacted. And since no one really knows how the 93rd Academy Awards are going to play out at this point, what with the coronavirus making mincemeat out of the release calendar, that’s probably for the best.
The Academy is calling their new initiative Academy Aperture 2025, and hopes to “further the Academy’s ongoing efforts to advance inclusion in the entertainment industry and increase representation within its membership and the greater film community. The first phase of the initiative outlines specific goals for the Oscars® and Academy governance, membership, and workplace culture.”
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