The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is changing the criteria by which films can be nominated for Best Picture Oscars, to take effect with the 2025 ceremony. Another set of rules designed to foster greater diversity in films will go into effect in 2024.
According to the new Best Picture directives, a film must first have had an “expanded theatrical run of seven days, consecutive or non-consecutive, in 10 of the top 50 U.
S. markets, no later than 45 days after the initial release.” Prior to this, movies were only required to have had a one-week theatrical release in one of six cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and San Francisco.
The Academy will also require that “for late-in-the-year films with expansions after January 10, distributors must submit release plans to the Academy for verification” and their theatrical runs must be completed no longer than January 24. Films nominated in other categories besides Best Picture will not be affected by the new changes.
According to a joint statement issued by the Academy’s CEO Bill Parker and its president Janet Yang: “As we do every year, we have been reviewing and assessing our theatrical eligibility requirements for the Oscars.
In support of our mission to celebrate and honor the arts and sciences of moviemaking, it is our hope that this expanded theatrical footprint will increase the visibility of films worldwide and encourage audiences to experience our art form in a theatrical setting. Based on many conversations with industry partners, we feel that this evolution benefits film artists and movie lovers alike.”
The Academy’s new criteria for encouraging diversity will go into effect with the March 2024 Oscar ceremony. According to these rules, a film needs to meet several new diversity standards to qualify for a Best Picture award. The standards govern the casting of actors from underrepresented groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability.
Not surprisingly, these new standards have come under attack from critics as yet another example of “woke” culture run rampant. For example, Tomi Lahren of Fox News complained that the rules were akin to “a snake eating its own tail,” adding that “whiny, rich, white Hollywood liberals are going to be out of work” as a result. On the other side of the spectrum, activist April Reign, who launched the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, said the new diversity standards represented “another step forward toward equity and inclusion.”
Even before the diversity standards are to be implemented, Hollywood seems to have gotten the message. This year, Everything Everywhere All At Once, with a mostly Asian cast, won seven awards, including Best Picture, and Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to garner the Oscar for Best Actress.