On September 8, 2020, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released new standards for Oscar eligibility for the Best Picture category. The new requirements for a movie to be eligible for the Best Picture category are broken down into four separate standards: Standard A: On-screen representation, themes and narratives, Standard B: Creative leadership and project team, Standard C: Industry access and opportunities and Standard D: Audience development.
For a movie to complete Standard A, it must contain at least one of the following list: a lead or significant supporting actor thats from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, at least 30 percent of all secondary or minor role actors are from an underrepresented group or a main storyline, theme or narrative is centered around an underrepresented group. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines underrepresented groups as either women, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQ+, and people who have cognitive or physical disabilities or people who are hard of hearing and or deaf. I believe that the new requirements for Standard A won’t be too hard to accomplish because having 30 percent of the cast be from an underrepresented group shouldn’t be too difficult.
For a movie to complete Standard B it must contain at least one of the following list: The movie must contain at least two creative leadership positions and department heads must be from an underrepresented group, the movie must contain at least one creative leadership positions and department heads be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, the film must have at least six other crew or technical positions be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group or it must have at least 30 percent of the crew be from an underrepresented group. I feel like this could be an issue because a film director could possibly hire someone from one of these underrepresented groups to just fill a role and actually have them do nothing. If the film director does this, they would technically still be fulfilling the requirements.
For a movie to complete Standard C it must contain at least one of the following two criterias: The movie’s financing and distribution company must have paid internships and apprenticeships that are from underrepresented groups and the films production, distributing and or financing company must offer training and or work opportunities for underrepresented groups. This requirement shouldn’t be a problem at all because most big companies already provide training and work opportunities for underrepresented groups.
The final requirement for a movie to qualify for the best picture category is that the studio and/or film company must have multiple senior executives from underrepresented groups on the marketing and distribution teams. I feel like this is the hardest of all the requirements to achieve because it could lead to the removal and replacement of some senior executives that are not from any of these underrepresented groups to be able to qualify for the Oscar. If that situation does happen, then the person who was removed from their position could possibly lose everything they worked so hard to get.
During these very dividing times, I feel like the world could use some more care and compassion between one another. At the end of the day, I would love to fully agree with all of these new requirements that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has put out, but I just cannot find it in me to do it. Yes, I completely understand the fact that all of these requirements can be easily met, but my issue lies with them following the rising and popular notion that everything negative in history must be removed and forgotten or changed. I do not approve of this way of thinking because, for starters, the whole reason why we study history is to prevent bad things from repeating itself. Yet when we begin to strip away history, it reminds me of an event I learned about during my time spent in Berlin, Germany.
On May 10, 1933 students from many universities across Germany burned around 25,000 books as a way to eradicate any history they classified as “not-German”. This entire demonstration was operated by the Joesph Goebbels and the Nazi Party. After World War II ended and the fall of the Nazi Party, a memorial was created to condemn, but not forget, that atrocity and so many others that happened. My entire point of bringing up this event is that the more we try to wipe away history, history will repeat itself again and again. I just feel like the Academy could end up digging a very bad hole for themselves if they don’t handle these new rules carefully.
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