A Closer Look at the Academy’s Nomination Standards for Best Picture – IndieWire

As unfortunate as it is that the Academy’s acceptance standards are back in the news (due to Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss’s recent response in an interview that ultimately led to his defense of blackface), it’s worth a closer look. on them before they officially go into effect next film awards season.

While they are described in more detail on the Academy’s website, the organization has listed the standards from A to D, with the stipulation that a film must meet at least two in order to qualify for Best Picture (the only category to which the standard applies). . .

The A standard focuses on on-screen presentation, themes and narratives, meaning that a film can focus on an underrepresented group (including women) or have significant diversity in its ensemble cast (even a significant supporting role of color counts) .

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 8: Writer, director and actor Matt Johnson attends a special independent screening of the film "Blackberry" at Harmony Gold on May 8, 2023 in Los Angeles, CA.  (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Natalie Portman a "City of Angels" presentation

The AB standard focuses on creative leadership and the project team, which means that a film with a diverse cast or multiple cast members from underrepresented backgrounds will be in an appropriate role, such as a department head or script supervisor.

The AC standard focuses on industry access and opportunities, so if the production company or distributor has a DEI program, such as the Universal Directors Initiative, that matters.

The AD standard focuses on audience development, so a studio and/or film company has more in-house senior executives from the following underrepresented groups.

The technical aspect of the process would be that as soon as a film is prepared for Best Picture submission, the production company and/or studio would have to individually fill out an application on the Academy’s RAISE platform (RAISE is an acronym that stands for Representation and Representation means Registration of admission standards). The submission form will have an identifier that can be added to the standard Oscar submission form so that data from the two applications can be merged behind the scenes.

Again, this is important to note only two Among the standards it must meet to be in the Best Picture category, so if a film is distributed by a major company like Warner Bros. Discovery, which has multiple DEI initiatives and a studio headed by Pamela Abdy, then it probably should. have your distributor complete the form to meet C and D standards. Nevertheless, the costs of the epidemic were partially covered by the loss of diversity and inclusion initiatives that were part of the cost-cutting measures, so the C standard became more difficult to meet.

If a film is moving towards qualifying for Best Picture under the A and B standards, the production company has resources like Crewvie or Free the Work to organize the project’s demographic information. A possible concern in implementing the standards is that it is likely to be more difficult to collect demographic information after the fact than when the production is shot, so it is likely that a service like Crewvie will become part of the rollout process for more and more productions. . These services also offer a tool that organizes all the information a film needs to meet recording standards into a single document.

If the topic is how a film meets the A standard, the RAISE form also has the option for the filmmaker to explain why, which is particularly useful for international filmmakers who may need to highlight something such as a country to the caste system. not be known to Americans.

While Academy members are expected to help lead the conversation in the film industry about equity, inclusion and accessibility, Jeanell English, the Academy’s executive vice president of impact and inclusion, recently said: The Hollywood Reporter, “It is important to note that we are not an analytical institution. We rely heavily on data from great places, whether it’s USC or UCLA, to help show trends.”

Last August, Academy CEO Bill Kramer also said of industry standards: “We want it to be collaborative. And again, seeing last year’s Best Picture nominees all qualify has given us great hope that our conversations and collaborations with studios, distributors and filmmakers are working and not challenging.”

While the changes are often met with resistance, the overall effect of the two years of submissions by filmmakers to the Oscars has been many films meet inclusion standards without knowing it, so it is unlikely that these standards are an attack on creativity critics, as Dreyfuss claims they are.

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