Oscar, in pursuit of diversity: is it useful or is it a scare?

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Whether a film is “eligible” or not to be a candidate for the Oscar will not have to do with quality, but with the number, in percentage, of minority workers, whether sexual, skin color or nationality. What will it entail, in practice?

It did not open a crack, because it is not so bad. After all, the Oscar is just the award given by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’s not going to change anyone’s life, other than the one who wins it, hopefully. But the new regulations, in pursuit of diversity on one side and the other of the chamber that were released this week, had repercussions on social networks.

Curious: more than signs of approval, many started with a “Terrible”, or “It’s anyone”, “How scary” or branded as “This is shameful. Political correctness is going to kill the cinema ”.

Even more curious is that the Hollywood industry continues to be reluctant to change. But if you think of it as an industry and film as a profit-making product, curiosity dissipates.

And the members of the Academy (which are already close to 10,000: in recent years almost double the number of those who had been added, when calling technicians and actors from all over the world), so it is read in Variety, Screen The The Hollywood Reporter, they are torn between confusion, that their creative capacity is being restricted or the hope that this will serve to promote diversity.

In other words, what the Academy is doing is redefining what better picture means to it.

Until today – and until 2024 – it is enough that it opens in a theater in Los Angeles or New York and is on the bill for at least a week.

But since 2024, this imposition alone has not been enough.

What are the measurements? To apply for the Oscar nomination for best film, two of four new standards must be met, which were called A, B, C and D, and which has to do with giving greater participation in the industry to the so-called minorities, be they by race, sex or special needs (the misnamed disability). They range from having two or more crew chiefs who are women, LGTBQ, or part of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, to having at least 30% of the cast comprised of actors from at least two of those four underrepresented categories so far .

Of course no one is obliged to follow the new rules of the Academy. The only thing they do in terms of the Oscars is to be among the 10 candidates for best picture. If 2 of the 4 standards are not met, it is left out. Outside of the award for best film, but it can be considered in the other 23 areas.

Mathematically speaking, if the production in a normal calendar year, without coronavirus, indicates that no less than 250 American films are released, it implies that only 4% achieve the candidacy for the highest award.

Plus? Historically, the movie that withdraws from the Dolby Theater with the top prize improves its subsequent gross from 15% to 20% of what it had already obtained at the box office.

But if we take as examples 12 years of slavery and Moonlight, the winners in 2014 and 2017, and which have racial diversity as the undisputed center of their plots, raised US $ 56,671,993 and US $ 27,854,932 in the United States and Canada. Very little for that market.

Let us remember that these new regulations come from an Academy that surprised three years ago when it announced that it would create another award for the most popular film.

After a few days, he recoiled. It is assumed that what an Academy should do goes beyond – much more than to recognize the value of the industry, but to encourage its members with courses, talks, seminars and various activities.

Again, let us emphasize that these innovative measures proposed to choose the best film do not point to the value, or the content of a film. A film can have 30% of the technical team and the interpreters African American or the LGBTQ community, and not support in what counts diversity, or stigmatize. Even being annoying, or politically incorrect.

We’re likely to see a change in the Oscar nominees four years from now, but will the makeup of teams and casts in Hollywood change?


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