DECRYPTION – Feature films should employ in front and behind the camera talents from ethnic minorities and under-represented communities (LGBT, disability). Historical measures still too timid for some, revolting for others.
Criticized for its lack of diversity towards talent from minorities and women, the Academy of Oscars is giving itself the means to never again experience the shame #OscarsSoWhite. The organizers of the most emblematic ceremony of the seventh art announced on Wednesday historical criteria of diversity to be eligible for its queen award: the Oscar for best film. Feature films hoping to land a nomination will be subject in 2024 to strict diversity rules, behind and in front of the camera.
Under the new rules, applied for the 2024 edition, feature films competing for Hollywood’s most prestigious award will have to meet at least two of the following four criteria numbered from A to D.
Criterion A: Showcase at least one main actor from ethnic and racial minorities, whether 30% of the small roles are played by people from “under-represented” communities (LGBT, people with disabilities and female roles), or that the main theme of the film is questions relating to these minorities.
Criterion B: Have within its management team or members of the technical teams behind the scenes people from historically disadvantaged ethnic groups, including women, LGBT people and people with disabilities.
Criterion C: Offer paid internships or apprenticeships to people from these minorities.
Criterion D: Asee in its distribution and marketing team people from these minorities.
These criteria, inspired by those put in place at the British Bafta, are intended to “Encourage fair representation on and off the screen in order to best reflect the diversity of the film audience”, assures the Academy. “It is not a question of excluding films but of encouraging the studios to change their mentality, to offer more opportunities”, reminded the Hollywood Reporter Oscar President David Rubin.
Films competing in this category for the 2022 and 2023 editions will not be subject to this rule, but will have to provide the Academy with confidential data on the subject.
Too radical or too timid an upheaval?
These announcements have been greeted by a number of critics who, for years, have denounced the lack of space reserved for Hispanic and Asian directors or artists.
“These are the bravest actions taken by an awards organization. As a Latino / Black man, this gesture embodies the change that the people of the street have been asking for since the murder of George Floyd ”, greets Clayton Davis. The journalist of Variety sees in his measurements the way to train directors, screenwriters, directors of photography of tomorrow and hopes that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who have no foot in the stirrup can learn their profession from the icons of today. “This reform does not change anything to great films like Infiltrators by Scorsese. Warner can keep DiCaprio and Matt Damon on the bill but will seek to meet C and D criteria, and showcase diverse talent that would otherwise have struggled for years to emerge ”. the New York Times do the same demonstration with 1917 of Sam Mendes on the suicide bomber of two white soldiers crossing the German lines. It suffices to hire a maximum of interns and marketing managers from the diversity, diagnoses the American daily.
This strategy to comply with the criteria of the Academy, is one of the arguments of the detractors of the reform who consider it too timid since it concerns only one category out of the existing twenty and spares the Oscars rewarding the best roles and supporting roles. Categories where the domination of white actors has generated the controversy #OscarsSoWhite
Other opponents worry that these criteria limit the creativity of authors. Like actress Kirstie Alley, the star ofHello mom, here baby. In a tweet she has since deleted, she dared this comparison: “It’s a shame for artists all over the world. Can you imagine telling Picasso what must have been in his paintings … You’ve lost your mind. Control artists, control individual thinking. OSCAR ORWELL ‘.
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The Oscars impose diversity criteria to be eligible for the trophy for best film