Last week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the next phase of its equity and inclusion initiative, Academy Aperture 2025. This phased initiative will further the Academy’s ongoing efforts to advance inclusion in the entertainment industry and increase representation within its membership and the greater film community. The first phase of the initiative outlines specific goals for the Oscars® and Academy governance, membership, and workplace culture.
“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,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “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.”
“Through the dedication, focus, and concerted effort of our Board of Governors and members on the branch executive committees, the Academy has surpassed the goals of our A2020 initiative. But 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,” said Academy President David Rubin. “Academy leadership and our Board are committed to ensuring that we continue to weave equity and inclusion into the fabric of every Academy initiative, committee, program and event.”
The Academy will encourage equitable hiring practices and representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the film community. To ensure more diverse representation, and in collaboration with the Producers Guild of America (PGA), the Academy will create a task force of industry leaders, appointed by David Rubin and that will include governor and A2020 Committee chair DeVon Franklin, to develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility by July 31, 2020. Eligibility for films in consideration for the 93rd Academy Awards® (2020) will not be impacted.
Beginning with the 94th Academy Awards (2021), the Best Picture category will be set at 10 nominees, rather than a fluctuating number of nominations from year to year. The Academy will also implement a quarterly viewing process through the Academy Screening Room, the streaming site for Academy members, also starting with the 94th Academy Awards. By making it possible for members to view films released year-round, the Academy will broaden each film’s exposure, level the playing field, and ensure all eligible films can be seen by voting members.
Lastly, due to the current coronavirus environment its become necessary to push the 94th Academy Awards from it’s usual February airtime approximately 2 months. This change means that submission dates for the categories have been pushed as well with feature films qualifying up until February 28, 2021.
Governance and Membership
This past January, the current Board of Governors participated in unconscious bias training. Moving forward, this training will be mandatory for all Academy governors, branch executive committee members and Academy staff on an annual basis. All 9,000+ members will be offered an opportunity to participate in training as well.
Additionally, the Board of Governors passed a resolution to amend the Academy bylaws to enact maximum governor term limits. Once the amendment takes effect, governors will be allowed to serve on the board for up to two three-year terms (consecutive or non-consecutive), followed by a two-year hiatus, after which eligibility renews for up to two additional three-year terms, for a lifetime maximum of 12 years. The previous limit was three consecutive three-year terms, with a one-year hiatus, and no lifetime maximum.
These term limits affect newly elected governors starting with the 2020-2021 board term, as well as sitting governors returning for 2020-2021 in their first or second term. Those returning governors in their third term during 2020-2021 will be allowed to complete their nine-year service, before an obligatory two-year hiatus, after which eligibility renews for one additional and final three-year term, for a maximum of 12 years. For governors who have already served multiple terms exceeding 12 years, they will be limited to one additional term. Branch executive committees will also have a term limit of six years and a two-year hiatus, with a maximum of 12 years.
The Academy will host a series of panels called “Academy Dialogue: It Starts with Us” for members and the public, with conversations about race, ethnicity, history, opportunity, and the art of filmmaking. Programs will include a conversation hosted by Academy governor Whoopi Goldberg on the lasting impact of racist tropes and harmful stereotypes in Hollywood films. The Academy will also present conversations on the systemic changes that need to occur in areas such as casting, screenwriting, producing, directing, financing and greenlighting of movies in order to afford opportunities to women and people of color and to help create a new narrative for recovery.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is committed to building an anti-racist, inclusive organization that will contextualize and challenge dominant narratives around cinema, and build authentic relationships with diverse communities. The Academy Museum will also create spaces that highlight and prioritize the experience of traditionally underrepresented or marginalized people while advancing the understanding, celebration, preservation, and accessibility of movies through its business practices, exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections.
The museum will work in active partnership with the recently expanded Inclusion Advisory Committee, comprising more than 20 filmmakers and executives, to help develop public programs, exhibitions, and collections that confront racism, champion the work of diverse artists, and expose historical omissions.