The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday that it will set new standards aimed at increasing diversity in films eligible for the Oscars.
The Academy will “encourage equitable hiring practices and representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the film community,” according to a Friday statement. It will also form a task force to develop by July 31, 2020, new “representation and inclusion standards” in order for films to be eligible for the Oscars.
The academy also said that it will set the number of nominees in its best picture category at 10 instead of a “fluctuating” number of movies each year. The organization will also implement a viewing process allowing its voters to screen films year-round, which could provide a boost to movies that are not released during the traditional “awards season,” according to USA Today.
“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,” CEO Dawn Hudson said in the statement.
The new changes are part of the organization’s ongoing equity and diversity effort known as “Academy Aperture 2025.” The organization announced that it will launch an Office of Representation, Inclusion and Equity to oversee the initiative.
The Oscars have for years faced criticism that it fails to recognize films starring and made by women and people of color. The hashtag “OscarsSoWhite” went viral in 2015 after the academy awarded all 20 possible acting nominations to white performers.
This year, the South Korean film “Parasite” became the first foreign-language film in the award show’s history to win best picture. However, “Harriet” star Cynthia Erivo was the only black person nominated in an acting category.
The Academy also announced Friday that it will make changes to its internal organization, requiring all staff to participate in unconscious bias training. Previously, only the Board of Governors participated in the training.
The organization also enacted term limits on the board, allowing a lifetime maximum of 12 years, in addition to additional initiatives.
“The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is committed to building an anti-racist, inclusive organization that will contextualize and challenge dominant narratives around cinema, and build authentic relationships with diverse communities,” it said.
“The Academy Museum will also create spaces that highlight and prioritize the experience of traditionally underrepresented or marginalized people while advancing the understanding, celebration, preservation, and accessibility of movies through its business practices, exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections,” the announcement added.
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