The Academy adds new “diversity rules” to the qualifications for the Best Picture award

Shayna Tilles, Arts and Reviews Editor


In 2015, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released their acting nominees, all of whom were caucasian. This created the interpretation that the Academy has a problem with inclusivity and diversity. The public was disappointed in the Academy’s lack of including people of color on their nomination list, which sparked the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite being used as a form of protest. Five years later, the Academy has diversified their predominantly white membership and have recently unveiled a set of guidelines that a movie has to follow to be considered for the Best Picture award.

Meant to take effect by the 96 Oscars in 2024, these new standards will require films to meet two out of the four guidelines in order to be considered for a Best Picture nomination. These guidelines are meant to help initiate more diverse hiring practices and allow more stories to be shared over the screen. These new requirements sent shock throughout the movie industry; however, they appear to be more attainable than it seems.


The first set of guidelines, called Standard A, has been given the most attention. It is meant to emphasize the need for more diversity in front of the camera. A film must meet one out of the following three criteria:

  • At least one actor from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group must be cast in a lead/important role.
  • The plot of the film must center around women, the LGBTQ community, a racial or ethnic group or people with disabilities.
  • 30% or more of the cast must be from at least two out of the four groups from the underrepresented categories specified by the Academy. 


The second set of guidelines, called Standard B, focuses on the  diversity of the crew and employees that work behind the scenes. A film must meet at least one of the following three criteria:

  • Two or more department heads (i.e. the director or costume designer) must be a woman, LGBTQ, disabled or a part of one of an underrepresented groups.
  • A minimum of six crewmembers must be from an underrepresented ethnic or racial group.
  • A minimum of 30% of the crew must hail from one of the four underrepresented groups.



The third set of guidelines, called Standard C, focuses on production and financing. A film must meet at least one of the following two criteria:

  • The film’s distributor and finance company must have at least two interns from an underrepresented group.
  • The production, distributor and finance company will provide training or job opportunities to people from an underrepresented group.


The final set of guidelines, called Standard D, has been recognized as the simplest requirement to meet, which is that some of the senior marketing, distribution and publicity staff come from an underrepresented group. 

Since films have to meet only two of the four guidelines, the Academy believes it will be fairly simple for a film to meet the criteria and qualify for a nomination. Even so, these new initiatives were put in place to motivate Hollywood to take diversity seriously on their own to make sure everyone is represented.