Variety's Virtual TIFF Studio
Two days ahead of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its new diversity and inclusion standards for the Oscars that will…
Two days ahead of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its new diversity and inclusion standards for the Oscars that will begin in 2024.
Many top filmmakers, actors and talent weighed in on the decision at Variety’s Virtual Studio at TIFF, presented by Canada Goose. The Academy’s initiative, which only applies to the best picture category, was met with divisive feedback from industry figures.
David Oyelowo, who screened his directorial debut “The Water Man,” praised the new standard.
“We are saying that women are of value, people of color are of value,” Oyelowo said. He warns the industry: “You will be irrelevant and obsolete if you don’t make this shift.”
Regina King, who also screened her feature directorial debut “One Night in Miami” at the Toronto Film Festival, hopes “people will be more creative” given the new guidelines.
“You can hire a person who is not white for that role because there’s nothing in that role that color has anything to do with it,” she said.
Idris Elba, star and producer of the Western drama “Concrete Cowboy,” also sees positives in the change.
“We need to be telling stories without having to discuss who made it, how it’s made, and however it’s fair,” he said. “We need to get to that place.”
“Shadow in the Cloud” director Roseanne Liang called it “the bravest thing the Academy has done.”
Chloë Grace Moretz, who stars in the World War II sci-fi film as Maude Garrett, sees it “as a step in the right direction.”
Two-time Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest, who leads the movie “I Care A Lot,” echoed those sentiments, adding she doesn’t see it as “locked in.” She cautioned, “It’s still the money talking.”
Some celebrities, such as Viggo Mortensen, haven’t wholly embraced the change. Mortensen said he doesn’t “think it’s a good idea.”
Mortensen, who screened his directorial debut “Falling,” and has received three Oscar nominations over his career — for “Eastern Promises,” “Captain Fantastic” and “Green Book” — said, “in the end, it’s about exclusion, which is discrimination.”
Mortensen pointed to last year’s best picture contender “1917,” a film from Sam Mendes that was nominated last year for 10 Oscars and won three, suggesting it “would not be eligible.” However, under the Academy’s detailed guidelines, the war epic would, in fact, still be eligible. Mortensen did applaud “the sentiment behind it.”
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