The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the latest organization to launch a racial equity initiative in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
On Friday, the Academy, home of the Oscar awards, announced its new initiative that will “implement new representation and inclusion standards.”
“We are excited to announce the next phase of our equity and inclusion initiative. In our efforts to increase representation, we are working to create new industry standards, add new voices to our Board of Governors and expand the Best Picture category,” The Academy explained in a tweet.
We are excited to announce the next phase of our equity and inclusion initiative. In our efforts to increase representation, we are working to create new industry standards, add new voices to our Board of Governors and expand the Best Picture category. https://t.co/HSIfHtXPVh
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) June 12, 2020
“The Academy will encourage equitable hiring practices and representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the film community,” the statement read.
First and foremost, the Academy will “implement a quarterly viewing process” that will allow voting board members more viewing time per film, starting with the 94th annual Oscar 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,” the statement read.
The amendments don’t just apply to the Oscars themselves. The Academy sent its board of governors through “unconscious bias training” in January.
Now that racial tensions in the country are rising after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and most recently Rayshard Brooks, this training session will be an annual requirement for all board, committee and staff members.
In addition to employee training, the Academy plans to host a series of panels called “Academy Dialogue: It Starts With Us,” which will be offered to the public.
According to the statement, these conversations will propose “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.”
The Academy also listed different areas of opportunity for students, women, underrepresented artists and others.
Programs such as the Academy Grants Program, the Academy Women’s Initiative and the Student Academy Awards offer future filmmakers a platform to present their work and get their foot in the door.
Though the organization has taken the initiative to promote equality in the workplace and on-screen, it doesn’t appear to be quite enough for some social media users.
After the statement was released, Twitter blew up with the 2015 hashtag #OscarsSoWhite that came to be after that year’s 20 acting nominations were all awarded to white actors. This sparked immediate outrage and the hashtag was created.
Now that hashtag is back.
#oscarssowhite should be because we don’t show up not because they failed to nominate us yet again.
— This Black Life (@LaurenEnchanted) June 17, 2020
— Gravitas (@Afika_Lulo) June 13, 2020
For those who thought that the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag had run its course five years ago, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
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