The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that diversity will now be a requirement when looking at Oscars eligibility. This new requirement will not be placed on movies that were released this year. The news comes after the Academy added director Ava DuVernay and producer Lynette Howell Taylor to their board of governors. "The need to address this issue is urgent," the Academy's chief executive, Dawn Hudson, said in a statement. "To that end, we will amend - and continue to examine - our rules and procedures to ensure that all voices are heard and celebrated."

It's unclear at the moment exactly what actions the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be taking for the future, though many are under the assumption they'll take a cue from the British Film Institute since it is the first major awards "body to introduce diversity and inclusion criteria into its eligibility requirements." All entries in Britain must contain "onscreen representation, themes and narratives," along with "industry access and opportunities," among others.

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The Academy's new initiative is called Academy Aperture 2025. In addition, there will be a series of panels under the Academy Dialogue: It Starts with Us umbrella "for members and the public on race, ethnicity and history." Whoopi Goldberg, who is a member of the board of governors, will host an upcoming panel on "the impact of racist tropes and harmful stereotypes in Hollywood films." As for when this will go into effect, it is believed it will start next year. The Academy is still fine tuning their approach and more details are expected to be announced soon.

The new changes will also effect the Academy's Los Angeles museum. The forthcoming museum is a $388 million project that has seen quite a few speed bumps in its development, mostly having to do with raising the proper amount of funds to get it off of the ground. With that being said, it is supposed to open its doors at the end of this year, though that might not happen due to the world's current state of affairs. For now, we'll just have to wait and see what happens with the museum opening, along with next year's awards broadcast.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has come under fire in recent years for a major lack of diversity. The Academy Awards have been accused of racism more than once by directors like Spike Lee and others, which has led to this slow change. With the murdering of George Floyd fresh on the minds of the world, it's clear that people want change and they want it now. The Academy has ramped up their actions in recent weeks, so it will be pretty interesting to see what the future looks like as they place more diversity requirements. The New York Times was one of the first to report on the Academy's new eligibility requirements.

Kevin Burwick at Movieweb
Kevin Burwick