Oscar QUOTA: The Academy Award needs to look beyond Hollywood

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September 11, 2020 5:40 AM

The Academy Award needs to look beyond Hollywood, not introduce quotas for under-represented categories

The Oscars needed to deal with the diversity problem by being more open to world cinema. The Oscars needed to deal with the diversity problem by being more open to world cinema.

Parasite—a South Korean film—was able to win awards in four of the six Oscars it was nominated for, including the Best Picture and Best Director, because it was a fantastic portrayal of class divide in society. Some would argue the decision to recognise the movie also helped the Oscar nomination committee shed its image of being biased towards Hollywood, or at least deflect some of the criticism. Till about a couple of years ago, non-English-language movies didn’t quite make it to the Best Motion Picture nominations, and the Oscars had been exhorted by many cinema experts to be more inclusive. The Oscars needed to deal with the diversity problem by being more open to world cinema. Instead, the Academy chose to emulate India’s failed quota model. In recently released rules, the Oscar committee has made clear that for a film to be nominated for the Best Picture category, it would need to have representation from under-represented categories in the cast, crew, studio and other aspects of film-release.

Making a strong case for production houses and distribution networks to keep diversity in focus is progressive, but forcing this through quotas for an award to recognise cinematic merit clearly isn’t. The Academy should have expanded inclusion of films outside Hollywood. The current rules will only mean a movie could get excluded despite being award-worthy because it doesn’t meet the diversity quota. And that would rob the award of credibility.

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