In the past decade there has been a significant increase in awareness of the problems of racism, sexual discrimination, or prejudice against minorities in the American entertainment industry. With the increasing criticism, whether on social networks or on the street, several established organizations have changed the rules or tried to become more diverse.
After being ranked #OscarsSoWhite for several years, the Oscars were among the institutions to announce changes. Last September, the Hollywood Academy announced diversity rules that will go into effect in 2024 when the 96th ceremony takes place. Even so, the candidate films will have to fill out forms by then in order to know in advance whether they will meet the requirements or not.
First, the rules only apply to the Best Picture Award – the most important of the Oscars (although this year’s gala wasn’t the last to be awarded). In addition, there are a number of diversity criteria, which are divided into four sections. Films that are eligible for the award only need to meet the criteria of two sections.
In other words, films that contain only Caucasian actors and have a narrative that is in no way related to an ethnic minority, the LGBTQ + community, people with cognitive and motor disabilities, or with female themes can continue win the Oscar for the best picture. As long as they meet other criteria – and the production teams behind the scenes are different.
For a better understanding of all the details, the easiest way to go is to visit the Oscar official website to consult the regulations. The first section has to do with the diversity of actors. To have this section only one of the following criteria needs to be met: at least one of the main actors or major minor actors must be from an ethnic minority; At least 30 percent of all supporting or supporting roles must come from two disadvantaged groups, be it an ethnic minority, a sexual minority, an actor with a disability or a woman. The main theme of the film must relate to racial issues, inequality among women, the LGBTQ + community or people with disabilities. It is enough for a movie to have any of these three criteria to ensure it meets this first section.
The second section has to do with the project and the creative leadership team, with the top positions. To complete this section, one of these three criteria must be met: at least two of the main positions in the team (casting director, cameraman, composer, in charge of the cloakroom, director, editor, in charge of the hair, in charge of the make-up) (Producer, art director, production designer, responsible for sound, supervisor for special effects, screenwriter) must come from one of the four disadvantaged groups mentioned above. In addition, at least one of these two positions must belong to an ethnic minority.
The second possible criterion to be met in this second section has to do with other relevant technical positions within the team – the logic is the same. At least six skilled workers (excluding production assistants) must belong to an ethnic minority. The third possible criterion defines that at least 30 percent of the entire team is part of one of the four groups: women, professionals with disabilities, ethnic or sexual minority.
The third section has to do with access to industry and the provision of opportunities. To complete this section, two criteria must be met. The company that finances the production has to pay internships to women, ethnic and sexual minorities or people with disabilities. Large studios have to do internships with people with these profiles in most departments of film. Smaller studios must have at least two interns from these groups in one of the following departments: Production / Development, Physical Production, Post Production, Music, Special Effects, Acquisitions, Management, Sales or Marketing, and Public Relations. In order for a film to meet the criteria of the third section, it must also promote training or offer employment opportunities to people from one of the four groups.
The fourth and final section of the new Oscars rules for choosing the best movie relates solely to the promotion and distribution of a movie. In order for a film production to meet this fourth section, the studio or production company must include several high-level professionals from the four groups (with an obligation to have ethnic minorities) on the marketing, advertising and / or sales teams.
In other words, if a film wants to have the chance of winning the golden statuette of the best film, it has to be diverse – whether with greater representation on the screen or on the production team. However, if films nominated for Best Documentary, Best Animated, or Best International Film are good enough to be nominated for Best Picture, those rules may not apply in that case. However, it goes without saying that there is some controversy surrounding the ethnicity of some professionals.
For example, Antonio Banderas was nominated for Best Actor for his role in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Dor e Glória” early last year at the 2020 ceremony – the big winner was the South Korean film Parasites. .
The Spanish actor has been classified as a “person of color” – an ethnic minority – by various American media. This sparked a heated debate on social media and international media – several Spanish media outlets, as reported by the “NPR”, pointed a finger at America and accused the country of being obsessed with the race.
When asked about the subject, Banderas replied: “I don’t know what I am. When I go to the US I consider myself Latin because they are the people I identify with the most. He also said when in an official document he had to fill in his ethnicity and choose ‘white’. He was told he was wrong because he was of Spanish descent.
“I said Hispanic isn’t really a race,” but the actor eventually agreed to put the cross in that category. “I’m happy to be Hispanic, Hispanic, Latin American, and if I’m a colored person then I’m a colored person,” he commented good-naturedly. Cases like Antonio Banderas’ can be more common when all actors in an Oscar shape need to be categorized based on ethnicity.
The Oscars define these as the ethnic minorities that are considered: Asian, Hispanic / Latino, Black / African American, Native American / Alaskan, Native Middle Eastern / North African, Native Hawaiian or any other Pacific island includes the option ” Another race or ethnicity with little representation “.
Given the new rules, many of the winning films or Oscar nominations for best picture – which have become icons over the years – likely could not compete for the award in that direction. If it’s difficult to judge whether they meet the criteria of diversity in the production teams, it’s easy to see that many of them don’t follow the on-screen rules when choosing who to cast. However, this does not mean that they are generally behind schedule.
The films we list below (many of which have been named best film) would likely not conform to the first section of the Oscar diversity rules, which is how actors portray themselves.
“Ford versus Ferrari”
“Once upon a time in … Hollywood”
“Hell or Flood”
“The Fall of Wall Street”
“The imitation game”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”
“A brilliant mind”
“Shakespeare in Love”
“Kramer versus Kramer”
“The Godfather” (and “The Godfather II”)