Academy Awards to take diversity seriously

These criteria would have ruled out two nominees for best white cast image this year based on their subject matter: The Banshees by Inisherin And nothing new in the West.

But these films could have met two of the other three criteria requiring representation in key creative and other crew roles; paid internships or training opportunities; or jobs in sales, marketing and advertising.

Everything Everywhere All At Once star Key Huy Quan accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

Everything Everywhere All At Once star Key Huy Quan accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.Credit:AP

When the 2020 measures were announced, a wave of angry criticism hit.

The late actress Kirstie Alley called the rules “dictatorial” and “anti-artistic.” Actor Dean Cain tweeted, “How about if we judge by those criteria – which movie was BEST PICTURE?”

A former member of the Trump cabinet, Richard Grenell, claimed the new standards were the work of “the Democrats who control Hollywood” and that the award would now go to “the most politically correct image”.


This criticism seemed to subside when it became clear that many best picture contenders already met the new criteria, or could circumvent them by focusing on internships and hiring women and gay men to get their films released.

On screen at least, the last three Best Picture winners have no trouble meeting the new standards.

nomadic country, KODA And Everything everywhere All had female protagonists and different casts. The first two were led by women; the third had women in key creative roles.

For many American production companies and studios, the criteria will be easy to meet. Marvel, DC and the war of stars Producers no longer make a film without actors from different backgrounds playing different characters.

Distributor A24, who cleared the top six categories at the Oscars Everything everywhere And The whaleShe regularly shoots inclusive films.

Michelle Yeoh accepts her Oscar for Best Actress in All at Once.

Michelle Yeoh accepts her Oscar for Best Actress in All at Once.Credit:AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

But it will be interesting to see how many films circumvent the new criteria rather than being more inclusive in significantly more ways, whether films are excluded from best picture consideration, and whether these measures encourage a wider range of stories as Hollywood embraces the ground rules changed.

What happens when an Australian film is so successful that it makes it to the Oscars?

Out of the five most recent nominees for Best Picture Mad Max: Fury Road, LeoAustralia New Zealand The power of the dog And elvis would qualify easily but it’s less clear for metal saw burr.


The smartest Australian producers are already thinking this way. But there is evidence that even if what is seen on screen is diverse through all these measures, inclusion on film sets matters.

A report commissioned by the Australian Cinematographers Society, released last year, revealed that camera departments were havens for sexual harassment, bullying, racism and discrimination based on sex, age and disability.

If it takes a prompt from the Oscars for this to end, it will be worth the effort.

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Email Garry Maddox at and follow him on Twitter at @gmaddox. Academy Awards to take diversity seriously

Jaclyn Diaz

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