By Matt Neglia
In a massive bit of news which was reported by the Hollywood Reporter, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) made several announcements regarding their diversity and inclusion push which started with the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2014. Known as “Academy Aperture 2025,” the Academy will start implementing new practices beginning with the 94th Academy Awards which will represent the films of 2021.
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No doubt influenced by the social activism which has taken the world by storm in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the changes were approved by the Academy board of governors on Thursday and have had the backing of the highest ranked officials within the Academy. These changes include, going back to 10 guaranteed 10 Best Picture nominees, a decision which has been long overdue since the Academy moved to the sliding 5-10 scale back in 2011 after having 10 nominees the two years prior. Does this ensure that the Best Picture lineup will be more diverse? Not necessarily, but it does increase the chances for we don’t know what could’ve happened over the past few years if this system were in place for Best Picture hopefuls such as “Carol” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” for example.
One of the complaints as to why we did not receive a more diverse lineup in recent years (especially last year) is that Academy members had a limited amount of time to watch the movies. As a result, only the Oscar contenders with the largest amount of buzz such as “Joker,” “1917” and “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” got seen while smaller movies such as “The Farewell,” “Uncut Gems” and “Portrait Of A Lady On Fire” were shut out completely. The Academy is attempting to correct this by implementing a “quarterly viewing process” through the Academy’s Screening Room, so viewers can watch the contenders from their home year round as opposed to trying to cram a small number of movies at the end of the year. And then as far as systemic changes in the future, the Academy looked at its own rules for board member term limits which will hopefully keep things fresh and when new leadership or change is needed, it can be acted upon in a quicker fashion.
You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture