Producing : Academy Awards Announce New Guidelines for Best Picture by Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Academy Awards Announce New Guidelines for Best Picture

Announced yesterday in Variety. Very wide sweeping diversity guidelines. I would say MOST films will NOT meet these guidelines. I would like to know what people think about these.

But if you are a producer, investor or potential crew member who seriously wants to be part of a film which in prep already meets every line on the list, and is aimed at Academy note as well... contact me here.

Oscars Announce New Inclusion Requirements for Best Picture Eligibility
Oscars Announce New Inclusion Requirements for Best Picture Eligibility
The diversity and inclusion initiative has been a heavy focus for the Oscars the past few years, shown by the expansive membership initiative. As part of the Academy Aperture 2025 initiative, the Acad…
Doug Nelson

I'm only interested in the live action shorts category, so I don't think it impacts me (not sure).

Karen "Kay" Ross

This is AWESOME! Thank you for sharing this! I appreciate that they are addressing all forms of diversity - race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality (which could be the most controversial with Americans who are sour against immigrants), and even disabilities. What do y'all think?

Barry John Terblanche

It is ridicules!! Who is anyone to tell / dictate the criteria's to making movies in the hope of receiving an Oscar. If that article was a script, I'd say it was the worst I've ever read.

Barry John Terblanche

Darn! There go's my script about a Cockroach and a squid that attack androids on Mars.


A physically disabled Cockroach and an African American squid attack a bad of hearing androids in New York.

Kiril Maksimoski

Doug Nelson it impacts US...doesn't impact me, however... :)

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Barry John Terblanche It's the "Academy" awards..., so the Academy gets to set the standards, right? Also, I have to wonder why you equate African-Americans with disabled cockroaches. Or is that your writer's vision? Because really, you just outed yourself.

Patti Petrone Miller

The way I see it, we are all storytellers and where would we be in this world without diversity? Living in a family on the spectrum and in a mixed race family, I can absolutely say without a doubt that this is the best decision ever. Not only are they doing this in the film industry, but in the publishing world as well. This world would be very boring without diversity. It gives us a change to see beyond color, religion, affliction or nationality. We can learn so much from one another if we only reach out. Years ago television and books consisted of white characters, the black characters were in the background or there for laughs. That was disrespectful, ignorant and insensitive. Children in other cultures couldn't see themselves in a book in order to relate to, and it has been this way far too long. We need creators of color and nationality, LGBTQ communities to broaden our intellectual spectrum on a high level and why not? Should we be judge and jury as to dictate what people should watch in film or read in a book? That would be a very misinformed thought don't you agree? We need to move forward not backward. We need to open up more avenues for inclusion and it all begins with us.

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Rohit Kumar With respect, that's a imperceptive and ill-considered reaction. Seriously, have you ever even WATCHED the Academy Awards?? You decry this as a pointless PC move but there's many decades of reasons for #oscarsowhite and still today the (small group of nearly exclusively white) voting membership doesn't reveal any understanding of America. It reveals a begrudging unwillingness to notice anyone not white. When it does it is done with a blatant, shallow and surface nod to pretended diversity by apparently very old white men who must not have left their luxury apartments for decades. They still think they are in the 1950s. Serious. This structural change might make some differnce (but don't hold your breath) by actually ensuring that the voters AT LEAST IN THEORY LOOK at films that reflect real culture and society.

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Rohit Kumar I am trying to follow what you are saying, but I don't quite understand. Previously it seemed that you were unhappy that it was an attempt to enforce PC viewpoints on art. Now it seems you are saying that it's a pointless exercise because it cannot work. Again, with respect, I think you should get a better education about the Academy. This is not Cannes or Sundance... The Academy is an INDUSTRY award show and by and large it rewards COMMERCIAL success. The crossover with art is often the case, but never necessary. They are not charged with bringing people together or guarding cultural values. They have no such mandate and no business doing such. I don't think they have ever claimed it. The Academy is a PRIVATE organization of film industry insiders. There is not a "selection committee." All members vote on all films which submit and qualify. Here's a run-down on how it works:

It being a PRIVATE industry award show, it will bow to pressure if it wishes. Currently, it seems to finally wish to take a positive move toward ensuring some kind of diversity in the film making process. The ONLY way the Academy can do this through the Oscars is to change the way it allows films to qualify. It has done this only for ONE category so... you know.

But I must say, I cannot but suspect that those who cannot tolerate the idea of more diversity on set feel threatened that they are going to be left out, or feel frightened that they are going to have to deal with other ethnicities in their chosen profession. I don't care about such people, they are part of the problem.

Angelo Raza

This is incredibly informative. Thank you for all contributors

Tasha Lewis

Thank you for sharing!

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Rohit Kumar You make some interesting poinst, but I disagree that the Academy decision is pointless and counter-productive.

But to respond to your very clear points: (1) I don't assume people are unhappy, I was responding specifically to Barry John Terblanche posts in which he is clearly angry about the guidelines, and in which he blatantly puts African Americas in the same category as disabled cockroaches and alien squids. I was also responding to your post which clearly implies you have difficulty with the idea (and which you have just reinforced). As I said, my own upcoming film(s) actually already meet ALL the standards under sections A, B, C and D; So I personally am quite happy about the new guidelines.

(2) I linked to Academy voting procedures because most people actually don't know what those procedures are, or how Academy members get to vote. I wasn't directing that comment to anyone who knows. If you already knew, you are in the vast minority even among filmmakers.

(3) I said the Academy is concerned with commercial success. I didn't say it was ONLY commercial success... but yeah, that's the idea. I reiterate: the Academy is a private association of industry insiders (personally picked by the same insiders, no less). The fact their opinion affects the opinions of filmmakers world-wide reflects the actual commercial power of their membership. That's what an industry organization is about: economic power for its members. Frankly, nothing else and if we disagree, we just disagree. Do remember that they are an American organization and they don't care about what happens to any industry outside these shores. Nor do they as a group care much for independent industry per se, though I am certain many of them understand it's important. The Academy and its membership does what they do, and don't have any necessary mandate to be socially acceptable or relevant, to anyone except themselves.

Having said that, as democratizing digital tech has expanded, the Academy is revealed as more and more out of touch with culture, both within the United States and abroad. As old boy distribution networks disintegrate world-wide, the Academy is becoming even less relevant and the commercial power of those insiders is becoming less solid.

I have to disagree though with the assertion that the Academy is dumping their responsibility. On the contrary, I see it as a very late and very lame attempt to update their own perceived viewpoint. Having worked in the industry for 30 years, and in Hollywood itself for 20, I can tell you these guidelines are BEHIND the actual makeup of the industry, at least the independent industry. So the Academy's change is like rent being paid "a day and a dollar short" - it's a belated effort that doesn't meet the actual challenge of the obligations they might actually have.

Bob Harper

I support the measure that the Academy has taken, but it is a dual-edged sword. It puts the studios on notice that they need to open things up to diversity, but makes the task for the indie producer to meet the criteria more difficult.

Unfortunately, many indie producers not in a heavily populated area would have a harder time putting together a diverse crew or cast and what would they be able to do about audience development?

If you are making movies to get Oscars, then I guess this would be a bummer for you if you have a harder time achieving the criteria than a multi-billion dollar company. If you are making films for art and/or commerce, then do what you can to get the film made.

This doesn't affect animated features, but I am striving for diversity and inclusion in the feature I am developing.

Tasha Lewis

Focus groups and polls along with guidelines can change the results. It has to be a team effort since movies impact everyone. Awards make the difference on so many levels (salaries, budgets, representation, long term sustainability of the industry).

Doug Nelson

Shadow - well voiced opinion. And pretty damn true to my knowledge.

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Bob Harper I agree, really how realistic is it for 99% of indie projects to hope for an Oscar anyway? But those who do want to be there should make the effort. Here in California, it's possibly easier than outside the state to cover those bases. So easy in fact that trust me, if your production doesn't meet those guidelines, you might actually be doing it on purpose.

Socks Whitmore

There will always be many great films shortchanged for an Oscar just as there have been films that may not have been the most deserving but won for reasons other than quality. The Academy is far from a perfect system. Updating the guidelines to qualify for an Oscar nomination will not prevent films that do not meet them from getting made, winning other awards, or being enjoyed by audiences, but it WILL bring more films that are making an effort to represent the diversity of our population into the limelight and potentially be the difference between a large number of people being employed or not. Most importantly, the power of that shift is allowing young audiences of marginalized identities to see themselves onscreen and in the credits, knowing they have a place in our culture, and I would rather have that than another dozen whitewashed blockbusters any day.

Dan MaxXx

Here is the current Board of Governors. They are not retirees; they're still working, and if they are the gateskeepers for Academy voters, it's a lot better than 20 or 40 years ago when the majority of voters and Oscar nominated films were by white men .

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Dan MaxXx (board is not membership...and they're demonstrably still out of touch)

Craig Prickett

As the 2 biggest markets for movies are North America the most diverse population on earth and China diversity in story telling just makes good sense.To get an Arts Grant in the UK which is an essential portion of the funding for most British movies you must meet a diversity standard.This has led to great movies like Pride which is a true story about a group of LGBTI young people who decided to help the coal miners during their conflict with Thatcher.Another great one Belle about a lords child to a Jamaican woman who was brought up as a Duchess and who through her influence on her grandfather led to the British Empire outlawing slavery.I doubt either movie would have been made without that diversity stipulation.The Academy Awards changing it's rules is a very small matter.Limiting your potential audience by not writing something inclusive makes the screenplay/movie less marketable and lowers the potential budget of any production in doing so.The smaller and less inclusive something is the smaller the potential audience is the higher the risk for investors.

Karen "Kay" Ross

Great point, Craig Prickett!

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