And the nominees for the Oscar are… diverse!

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Natalia Tapia, Spread Editor

The Academy Awards of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced that beginning with the 2024 Oscars, films must meet new diversity requirements in order to be eligible for the Best Picture category. 

This announcement follows years of criticism for their lack of multicultural nominees in the past. It was only in 2002 when Halle Berry became the first and only black woman to win an award in the lead actress category. That was more than 15 years ago and to this day, no other woman of color has won. 

“It’s not enough that I’m the only one. It just isn’t,” said Cynthia Erivo, a black actress, who was nominated for her work on the movie “Harriet” this past year.

This also goes for women directors: There have only been five female nominees for the best director award in which Kathryn Bigelow is the first and only female to win in this category back in 2010. 

In regards to racial diversity overall, the 2015 Academy Awards stirred controversy and soon became known as the “White Oscars” because of their predominantly white nominees. With these new inclusion establishments, the hope is that these small numbers will increase and normalize diverse film sets and movies. 

According to its website, The Academy has separated these requirements into four standards, and at least two of them must be met in order for a movie to be deemed eligible. 

 One of the standards requires having either a lead or significant supporting actor be from a diverse race or ethnicity. Additionally, at least 30 percent of the general ensemble cast must be made up of underrepresented groups, which includes women, the LGBTQ+ community, and racial or ethnic groups such as Asians, Hispanics, Black/African Americans, Indigenous/Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders. People with cognitive or physical disabilities and people who are deaf or hard of hearing are included as well. They may also have the main storyline, theme or narrative of the film be centered on a minority group. In order to achieve Standard A, at least one of these criteria must be met. 

Another standard requires the film to have at least one of the following: two leadership or department head positions filled by someone from an underrepresented group, with at least one being from a minority racial or ethnic group. An additional requirement is having at least six crew member and technician positions held by people from diverse racial or ethnic groups. 

The last two standards require that productions have paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities as well as training opportunities and skills development for people in minority groups. Executives in marketing, publicity and distribution must also be from a minority group. 

According to Steven Zeitchik from The Washington Post, recent winners of the Best Picture award, such as “Moonlight,” “Green Book” and “Parasite” already fit the new standards imposed and these new rules won’t have much of an impact. However, this doesn’t guarantee that upcoming films will be the same and with these requirements in place, it will make it mandatory to have diversity in every film no matter what. 

Others, like Clayton Davis from Variety, believe it was about time these prerequisites were put in place, given the lack of multiculturality all throughout history and that it will set a new precedent for years to come. 

Some iconic movies such as “Braveheart” and “A Beautiful Mind” wouldn’t have been nominated for Best Picture had these requirements been in place during the time of their release. Even the three movies tied for most Oscars won, “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ” wouldn’t have been eligible for this award. 

“The Academy is finally taking a step in recognizing that there isn’t enough representation in Hollywood,” senior Makenna Meteyer said. “There’s a lot of young people watching movies and shows that receive awards and it’s important to see someone who looks like you to inspire the next generation of actresses and actors.” 

Once these standards are established, multiple cultures, races, ethnicities and communities will be represented not only on, but off-screen as well.