BAFTA Just Put The Oscars To Shame With A Bold Move For Diversity

Photo: Joanne Davidson / Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock.
We're psyched to report that the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, or BAFTA, is instituting a kick-ass new diversity initiative. Beginning in 2019, movies will only qualify to be nominated for two of the most coveted awards if they meet specific diversity standards. The BAFTAs, which are often described as Britain's Oscars, will bar movies that don't meet these criteria from being nominated in the categories of Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer.
BAFTA has designated four ways in which filmmakers can demonstrate their commitment to diversity behind and in front of the camera: on-screen representation, themes, and narratives; project leadership and creative practitioners; industry access and opportunities; and opportunities for diversity in audience development. Film and TV productions will have to display meaningful efforts to improve the representation of minority groups in at least two of these four areas. According to BAFTA, the groups most underrepresented in the industry — the ones that stand to benefit most from the reforms — include women, ethnic and racial minorities, the LGBTQ community, differently abled people, and those from a lower socioeconomic class.
BAFTA also made a change echoing the the Academy's plan to diversify its membership earlier this year in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. The British organization has changed its stipulation that potential new members must be recommended by two current members in order to join; the idea is to prioritize talent over industry connections. Now, let's just hope that the Academy will take a page from BAFTA's progressive playbook and institute similar and gravely needed reforms in the Oscars nomination process.

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