Lack of diversity is an ongoing issue in the film industry. Last year’s Academy Award nominations caused a stir when the 20 acting slots were composed entirely of white performers, making the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite go viral. Additionally, the media’s revived coverage of the Bechdel test and the ongoing discussion about the gender wage gap caused an increase in awareness about the inequality facing women in film. It’s been a long time coming but one major film academy has finally decided to instill new measures to change all that.
Today, BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) announced that starting in 2019, films nominated for the two biggest awards (British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer) must meet a newly established diversity requirement.
Films must demonstrate that they have worked to increase “under-represented groups” in two of the following areas: on-screen representation, themes and narratives, project leadership and creative practitioners, industry access and opportunities and opportunities for diversity in audience development.
According to Deadline, under-represented groups include women and people from minority, disabled, LGBT and lower socio-economic groups.
Additionally, BAFTA is making changes to the industry leaders who are in the actual Academy. Previously, new members had to be suggested by existing ones. But in an effort to move away from an “it’s who you know”community, they have abolished that rule. And BAFTA appears to be doing a pretty stellar job at diversifying the pool of voters. Out of the 375 new members inducted in 2016, 43 percent are female and 18 percent are from minority ethnic groups.
Okay, Academy Awards. We’re all looking to you now.
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(Photo via Stuart C. Wilson/Getty)