Overdue Diverse Changes Coming for the Academy Awards in 2021

This year has throttled the entertainment industry, thanks largely to COVID-19 and all that implies, but what about the Academy Awards? Streaming on the rise, on-demand premieres, and dozens of motion picture delays have riddled the cantankerous old farts in charge of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

Turns out Oscar has been considering a few things since the Coronavirus has set the sun on its end-of-the-year regalia, chiefly among them is the murky stain of Academy Awards diversity. As cinephiles, it is important to determine what rule changes are coming for Oscar in the coming year.


OSCARS SO WHITE

The Academy Awards are in need of some diversity.

Go ahead. Say it. You’re reading this to yourself anyway. Here, I’ll write it so you won’t feel so bad: “The Academy Awards is about talent. If minorities aren’t as talented, they won’t win. It’s that simple.”

There. Feel better? Now that you have said that, read this:

Nine decades. Eight black women as ‘Best Supporting Actress.’ That is less than one per decade. Still not convinced? Here’s another tidbit to read to yourself:

Nine decades. Six black men. Well, you get it… Yeah, it’s all about talent. Anywho, back to the reason AMPAS needs these self-imposed diversity requirements.

Colorful Changes to ACADEMY AWARDS

Director Matthew A. Cherry and producer Karen Rupert Toliver, winners of the Animated Short Film award for “Hair Love.”
Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Now that you see there is a skosh of an issue with the Academy Awards and diversity, AMPAS is on a strong anti-whitewashing of their hallowed halls, and it has a name: “Academy Aperture 2025.” Yeah, old white guys need a four-year running start since they haven’t been gallivanting in that progressive direction for the past 92 years.

“While the Academy has made strides, we know there is much more work to be done in order to ensure equitable opportunities across the board…The need to address this issue is urgent. To that end, we will amend — and continue to examine — our rules and procedures to ensure that all voices are heard and celebrated.”

Academy CEO Dawn Hudson per a statement Friday. “

The amending and examination is a little vague on inception but Ms. Hudson shared about an Academy Awards diversity task force comprised of film industry leaders “to develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility by July 31.”

The top-secret task force will establish a series of panels titled “Academy Dialogue: It Starts with Us.According to The New York Times, “a forthcoming conversation led by Whoopi Goldberg, a member of the board of governors, will center on the impact of racist tropes and harmful stereotypes in Hollywood films.”

To truly meet this moment, we must recognize how much more needs to be done, and we must listen, learn, embrace the challenge, and hold ourselves and our community accountable.

Academy President David Rubin per NPR

Along with Whoopi, the great Ava DuVernay has been elected to the AMPAS Board of Governors too. It seems the Academy Awards is finally doing something permanent about its diversity problem. Added to that change, all Academy governors, branch executive committee members, and staff will be required to attend “unconscious bias training,” whatever the hell that is.

In the past 92 years, any movement is good movement for AMPAS. The low circulation in Oscar’s arthritic legs must be killing him and rigid points-of-view. Poor homogenized and sectarian Oscar.


Featured Image Credit: Getty / Valerie Macon

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