The Oscars' 'Best Picture' Will Now Only Go to Films That Are 'Inclusive' of 'Underrepresented Groups'

Brittany M. Hughes | September 9, 2020
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Feature a black person? Have a gay dude as your star? Hire a woman for your lead role?

No? Well then, you can’t win "Best Picture" at the Oscars.

At least, that’s according to the new standards from the Academy, who, after several years of declining ratings as fewer and fewer ordinary people care to tune into a self-congratulatory parade of Hollywood stars patting themselves on the back for being rich and famous, have decided that the path forward is to narrow qualifying films for Best Picture to only those that are “inclusive” in their storytelling.

I can’t really explain this coherently given the extreme level of stupid, so here it is from the LA Times:

To be eligible for best picture, a film must meet at least two standards across four categories: “Onscreen Representation, Themes and Narratives,” “Creative Leadership and Project Team,” “Industry Access and Opportunities” and “Audience Development.” Within each category are a variety criteria involving the inclusion of people in underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people and those with cognitive or physical disabilities. (Other Oscar categories will not be held to these same standards, but the contenders for best picture typically filter down to other feature length categories.)

Understand? Yeah, me neither. Here’s a nutshell: according to the new standards, afilm will only qualify for the Best Picture award is “if at least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group; at least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from certain underrepresented groups; or the main storyline, theme or narrative is centered on an underrepresented group.”

In case you’re wondering, “underrepresented group” means black, Asian, Hispanic, female, LGBTQ, or basically anything other than straight white men.

Oh, but it gets better. Considering that some films might have trouble meeting the new standards (perhaps ones set in certain historical times or geographical locations where the new qualifiers might be difficult to come by, for instance), the Academy built in a failsafe. If they fail to meet the new criteria, a film can meet the “Industry Access and Opportunities” standard “if the studio or production company offers paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities and training programs for underrepresented groups across a range of fields, something that is quite common across the industry.”

“The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them,” Academy President David Rubin and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson said in a joint statement, per the LA Times. “The Academy is committed to playing a vital role in helping make this a reality. We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”

And I believe these standards will further tank Oscars ratings for years to come, and that most movie franchises will continue to place their audience’s cash over the Academy’s social justice grandstanding.