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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced "new inclusion and representation standards," not to be confused with their past attempts to dictate what art is made and by whom.
As everyone goes completely insane over diversity, equity and inclusion, the Academy would have felt left out if they didn't install their own racial morality clauses.
Actress Kirstie Alley called it a disgrace, an insult to artists who create based on passion and inspiration. For Alley, the Oscars should probably be renamed to the Orwells, given their censorship and demands for conformity to these new race-based standards.
The Academy has changed the rules over how they give the little gold Oscar statues. Now, to be eligible, a film must meet certain criteria that have nothing to do with its content, structure, or artistic merit.
To get one of the little gold men, a film must meet two of these four criteria:
For on-screen, a film would need one of these: the lead needs to be from a minority group; 30 percent of the cast has to be from an underrepresented group—female, race or ethnic minority, minority in sexual orientation and or/gender identity, or disability minority; the story has to be "centered on an underrepresented group."
For creative team, a film must have: at least two creative positions helmed by women, a racial or ethnic minority, a gender identity minority or someone from an underrepresented sexual orientation, or a person with disabilities, including cognitive disabilities. Additionally, those ethnic groups that are acceptable to be considered for these roles are further broken down. "Other key roles" and their required "representation" are also noted, along with "crew composition."
Behind the scenes hires for underrepresented individuals are also mandated, as well as specifics for marketing and audience development.
All of this is only for the Best Picture category for some reason. Perhaps the Academy felt that only those pictures that were going after the coveted top prize should be forced to use this formula to determine which projects to develop and which to leave in the slush pile.
2019's Best Picture Parasite, though it was lauded for inclusion and diversity, would have been in the slush-pile.
A quick look back at the Best Picture winners from the past decade shows that out of 10 Academy Awards, five would have met these criteria. If so many films are already doing this organically, simply because the stories are compelling and people want to tell them and watch them, then why does the Academy need to do this top-down, one-size-fits-all approach?
Do they not trust the artists and creative teams that have already been doing this work of their own volition, and because the story mandates it, not because of Academy dictates?
What is being missed in this mess is that when a film is made, it begins with a story, a script, the compelling of an artist to compose a narrative that speaks true to them, that they write from their heart and passion. Piecing together a story from a spreadsheet from the producers office is not a reasonable way to make art, and it never has been.
The Hays Code, which was part of the motion picture industry from 1930 to 1968, mandated prohibitions on films that "would lower the moral standards of those who see it," so that the audience would never root for the bad guy, thereby risking a tumble into sin. It required that films show the "correct standards of life," not violate nor ridicule "natural or human law," or create sympathy for that violation.
There were further prohibitions on "nudity, suggestive dances, discussions of sexual perversity, superfluous use of liquor, ridicule of religion, miscegenation, lustful kissing, or scenes of passion."
Just as these rules were an attempt to force the perceived morality of the day onto the arts, so too is the Academy attempting to enforce a fashionable morality onto the films of today.