Following recent events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement as well as racial discrimination within every industry being put under the spotlight, Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that the Oscars will now implement new diversity standards that are focused on race.
The Oscars have been criticized in the past on the lack of representation surrounding race with the circulation of viral hashtags such as #OscarsSoWhite, #OscarsStillSoWhite and #OscarsWhitewash, and people encouraging the boycott of the event entirely.
Now, with the entire world watching and waiting to see how white supremacy is to be taken down, the Oscars’ organizers have announced that important changes are to be made that will “develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility.”
Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took to Instagram to announce the changes they are aiming to make, which include “hiring practices on and off-screen.” So far, this means that these new changes will not affect films this year, but will mostly address the lack of people of color within the organization itself.
Other standards that are being introduced will also include, “more representation and inclusion for the Oscars,” “more new voices” on their board of governors, “greater streaming opportunities for members to see films”, as well as “10 films in the best picture category.”
Not only addressing race, the Academy has spent the last 10 years or so focusing on gender equality also; currently the percentage of male and female members stands at 50%, however, only one third of them are people of color.
Following the highly public death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department and the protests that ensued, the Academy posted on Instagram stating, “The death of George Floyd is not acceptable to anyone. We stand in solidarity with our black members, colleagues, storytellers, artists and with all black people across our nation because we know Black Lives Matter.” The post concluded, “The Academy adds its voice to the call for justice. We must shine a brighter light on racism and do our part to step up to this moment.”
At present, the Oscars ceremony is still due to take place on February 28th 2021, which may be subject to change depending on restrictions around COVID-19.