The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced Friday they will once again expand the Best Picture category to 10 nominees, beginning with the 94th Academy Awards. This is one part of a sweeping collection of standards and initiatives aimed at honoring the diverse and ever-changing landscape of the film industry.
Beginning with the 17th Oscars, the Academy set the Best Picture lineup to five. That remained the limit until 2009 when the category expanded to ten in an effort to diversify and better reflect a growing number of eligible films.Two years later, they shifted to a sliding scale, with the number of Best Picture nominees landing somewhere between a 5-10. This has led to controversy and debate as many exceptional films failed to reached the required number of votes to secure a nomination.
But while the Best Picture expansion is the headline most are focusing on, it is only one part of a major initiative the Board of Governors has announced and will yet announce in the weeks and months to come.
Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement:
“While the Academy has made strides, we know there is much more work to be done in order to ensure equitable opportunities across the board. The need to address this issue is urgent. To that end, we will amend—and continue to examine—our rules and procedures to ensure that all voices are heard and celebrated.”
In recent years, AMPAS has sought to be more inclusive in its membership and programming. In 2018, they announced Action: The Academy Women’s Initiative, which was designed to create more opportunities for female filmmakers.
Academy President David Rubin said:
“Through the dedication, focus, and concerted effort of our Board of Governors and members on the branch executive committees, the Academy has surpassed the goals of our A2020 initiative. But to truly meet this moment, we must recognize how much more needs to be done, and we must listen, learn, embrace the challenge, and hold ourselves and our community accountable. Academy leadership and our Board are committed to ensuring that we continue to weave equity and inclusion into the fabric of every Academy initiative, committee, program and event.”
Some of the changes announced today include new term limits for the Board of Governors, and a series of panels called, “Academy Dialogue: It Starts With Us.” These panels will be available both for members and the public, and will include in-depth conversations about the history of film and the art of filmmaking.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, scheduled to open this fall, will institute an Inclusion Advisory Committee to ensure that all programming, exhibits, and collections will be fully representative of the true history of the industry.
To read more about the newly announced standards and changes, visit the Academy’s website.