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Mindful of the difficulty of enforcing potentially heavy-handed mandates on the types of stories that are deemed worthy for best picture consideration, however, the academy is building in the flexibility for films to meet the inclusion requirements in other areas. For example, films can meet the “Industry Access and Opportunities” standard if the studio or production company offers paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities and training programs for underrepresented groups across a range of fields, something that is quite common across the industry.
In recent years, the academy has announced a number of changes — including plans for a special category for “best popular film” and the paring of several awards categories from the Oscars telecast — only to roll them back after criticisms that they were ill-conceived and half-baked. But by announcing its new inclusion requirements more than three years before they will go into effect, the academy is giving the industry plenty of time to adapt. (For the 2022 and 2023 Oscars, potential best picture nominees will be required to submit a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form but will not be held to particular inclusion thresholds.)
Announced in June, the Academy Aperture 2025 initiative marks the next chapter of the academy`s diversity efforts that began in response to two consecutive years of OscarsSoWhite controversy. The initiative is geared toward further increasing representation in the organization`s governance, membership and workplace culture, as well as in the films nominated for Oscars. In June, the organization announced that it had surpassed the goal, set in early 2016, of doubling the number of women and people from underrepresented ethnic/racial communities in the group by 2020.
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