Inclusion requirements for Oscars

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  • #31
    Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post


    Jeff, it's the Academy's house. No one is saying that they can't make these type of creative rules on an artist. The point was it wasn't right for them to dictate to an artist to include certain major story elements into their vision in order to be considered to be one of the best "original" screenplays of the year.
    I know you addressed this to Jeff but I'm curious as to how you consider putting a non-white actor (man or woman) in a leading or supporting role is a "major story element."





    Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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    • #32
      Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post

      I defy you to prove me wrong!

      Here are ten examples.

      You are entitled to your own opinion!
      Jeff, you just couldn't leave it be.

      I was specific to mention the big credible contests (Nicholl, Page and Austin) because there are hundreds of contests, and I knew you would go through the list no matter how small, special or whatever contest to obtain what you needed to show that there are contests that say you need to include a lead woman, or whatever.

      For example, you proudly mentioned the Universal Writers Program. This is a for-hire program. The writers who are selected to participate in the Program are hired under a writing service agreement, $75,000. So, they have every right to require the scripts to have a certain tone and global perspective.

      Jeff, I agree with your opinion that the Film Academy has every right to include specific artistic elements. I also agree with your opinion that if I'm not happy with that I don't have to participate.

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      • #33
        All I know is that for most of my career, I worked on a ton of shows that had all white casts that were created by other people. The last two shows I created, I made it a priority to have a diverse cast (and staff!). I've never felt that my vision was compromised, I've felt the cast was stronger by consciously not looking at the usual suspects, and if the Academy wants to encourage people to make casts look like the world, I think that's great.

        Joe, my unsolicited advice is to stop worrying so much about contests you’re unlikely to win and worry more about your writing. (I say this as someone who will never win an Oscar, and couldn’t have won a Nicholl back when I was an amateur.)

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        • #34
          Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
          ...The last two shows I created, I made it a priority to have a diverse cast (and staff!). I've never felt that my vision was compromised, I've felt the cast was stronger by consciously not looking at the usual suspects, and if the Academy wants to encourage people to make casts look like the world, I think that's great....

          Awesome. Your nemesis agrees.

          Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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          • #35
            Though Joe seems to be ignoring my question, I want to point out developing a script for sale or production is a long series of compromises. You get notes from everyone on changes they want you to make to your creative vision.

            And sometimes those notes inspire the writer to look at their story from another angle they hadn't considered and make the script stronger.

            I prefer to look at these Academy inclusion standards as an opportunity to strengthen scripts. Because a good portion of writing is digging deeper to find creative solutions.

            For example, during this discussion, I found myself thinking of ways to add a supporting minority role to Joe's white supremacist concept and it's not even my idea.
            Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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            • #36
              Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post

              if the Academy wants to encourage people to make casts look like the world, I think that's great.
              I think this is great also. I love this.

              The problem I am having though, is that it's not "encourage." It's a RULE on creative people. Now I understand it's their house and they have a right to demand specific inclusions in a writer's work, but I believe it's wrong. It goes against artistic freedom. Yes, encourage inclusion in a writer's work, but don't demand it.

              I believe the majority of writers are not racists where they want a vanilla colored world.

              It's not about casting. It's about characters in a writers story. If a writer's story doesn't meet Standard A.1 and A.2, then he must meet A.3 theme or narrative of the film must be centered on a underrepresented group. This is not artistic freedom.

              I understand for the majority of writers they are not gonna run into any problems with Standard A, but as long as there is any edict, rule, demand that goes against artistic freedom, then I'm gonna stand up and use my voice to speak against it.

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              • #37
                Joe:

                A2 is the easiest to standard to meet in your white supremacist script:

                A2. General ensemble cast At least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from at least two of the following underrepresented groups:
                • Women
                • Racial or ethnic group
                • LGBTQ+
                • People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing
                Let's say you have 10 secondary or minor speaking roles. To achieve the 30% you have to have 3 actors from two of those groups playing the next door neighbor, the traffic cop, the bartender and any other minor speaking role.

                So let's say your Neo Nazi gets stopped by a Black cop for a moving violation. He's got AR 15s in the trunk. A 45 under the seat. And this Black cop starts hassling him. Heck. This scene can enhance your story we a lot of tension because we know your Neo Nazi wishes he can take the cop out.

                Does your Neo Nazi have a girlfriend he lives with? Yes? Now you only have one more role to fill to meet A2.

                Hmmm. Maybe a middle Eastern family bought the house across the street from your Neo Nazi. They exchange words with the Neo Nazi over something neighbors bicker about. More tension.

                The more I think about your idea, the more it seems to me including minorities in A2 roles dramatizes his anger at living in a diverse world.
                Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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                • #38
                  I'm sorry, but I agree with Joe 100%.

                  This isn't about winning Oscars - it's about the knock-on effects! There are plenty of black-only, women-only, this region-only, etc. competitions - so why make the biggest and most influential cater to the left too?

                  Soon we'll end up having to enforce female directors at the expense of men, blacks at the expense of whites, etc., in the whole Western world, just to qualify for grants or land distribution!

                  It's not white supremacist to be white and worry about the futures of your sons and their sons, given how things are going.

                  The BBC recently released an advertisement for a "black trainee newsreader". Yes, only black people could apply, while, not so long ago, the Head of Comedy at Britain's ITV boasted how she wouldn't commission anything coming from all-male writing teams.

                  I shan't say who and I don't know if it's true, but I was told by a producer that a certain massive online SOVD would only commission original content that met its LGBT quota.

                  If you can't see where this is all going, then there's not much point continuing the conversation. Needless to say though: audiences are growing increasingly discontent with the ridiculous agendas being forced upon them and being made to feel like 2nd citizens in their own nations!

                  You can counter this with the usual, "You're racist/sexist/homophobic" mindless slur, or you can wonder why middle-aged white men are more frequently committing suicide (not that this alone is the reason).

                  So, yes, sc111 does have a point in a good scene with a neo-Nazi wanting to gun down a black cop... but, if the film is a contained thriller in the woods on a small, tight budget, why bloat the cast? Why add scenes?

                  For the record, even though Joe used the story as an example, it's a brilliant idea!

                  P.S. The undercover agent's girlfriend - whom we see during flashbacks during lulls in the action - would likely be made black, just to somehow make us think that a white man can't be anti-racist-lynch mobs otherwise (which is ludicrous... but then, we live in a society where BLM can call a random white passer-by, EDL, to justify a despicable racial beating of 50-1, with none of them being arrested in the aftermath despite CCTV and phone videos - quickly pulled down by the usual online censors.

                  And, yes, all this sophism does add to the huge problems Western societies are facing, so the Academy are craven for taking this stance).

                  PPS. That was my last comment in this thread, as I've said it all and, unfortunately, this already likely means I'll be painted unpopular, if not loathsome.
                  Last edited by Done Deal Pro; 10-27-2020, 07:43 AM. Reason: Fixed formatting

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by RandomBloke View Post

                    Soon we'll end up having to enforce female directors at the expense of men, blacks at the expense of whites, etc., in the whole Western world, just to qualify for grants or land distribution!
                    I want to make it clear: I'm very much for inclusion in society. History has proven when a specific majority has control, they'll block all others out. If it wasn't for inclusion requirements, women would never had gotten the right to vote. Blacks in the South would still be treated as a non-citizen being segregated to the rear of the bus, etc.

                    Unfortunately, which doesn't speak well for the American ideal, legislation had to be pass to ensure equality for all.

                    I have no problem with the Academy's behind the scenes business side of the required inclusions.

                    I just believe there should be no rules or demands on an artist's creation.

                    If so, then we are restricting artistic freedom. If this is accepted, then who knows where this road could eventually lead to.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post

                      I want to make it clear: I'm very much for inclusion in society. History has proven when a specific majority has control, they'll block all others out. If it wasn't for inclusion requirements, women would never had gotten the right to vote. Blacks in the South would still be treated as a non-citizen being segregated to the rear of the bus, etc.

                      Unfortunately, which doesn't speak well for the American ideal, legislation had to be pass to ensure equality for all.

                      I have no problem with the Academy's behind the scenes business side of the required inclusions.

                      I just believe there should be no rules or demands on an artist's creation.

                      If so, then we are restricting artistic freedom. If this is accepted, then who knows where this road could eventually lead to.
                      To be clear, our democracy is forever evolving, since not everyone who's a heterosexual WASP male feels included on a legislative or judiciary level.

                      That said, I, being a black male who's part of the industry on a small level, am troubled at the mentality that embraces absolutism and cosmetic shallowness, in defense against the arrogant, xenophobic, Saturday morning cartoon character in the Oval Office who wallows in absolutism and cosmetic shallowness.

                      The average moviegoer, regardless of identity, doesn't really care about who work behind the scenes of a film, unless they want to enter the industry. Most people who fall in love with film or TV want to have a camera on them. They go to acting school, go through auditions while having a day job, and the hope of winning an Oscar or Emmy or Tony or all three.

                      For me, personally, I was a shy, weird kid who liked storytelling and wanted to make a living at it while not caring about having a spotlight on myself. That's personal maturity right there.

                      What I get from JoeNYC is the fear of entertainment becoming agitprop. Just look, without being 100% disgusted, "Birth Of A Nation" by D.W. Griffith. It made black people look evil and stupid and white people are heroic.

                      Everyone, regardless of identity, wants to be part of the world, but I feel, with the presence of Instagram and Facebook, it's the Tower of Babel to an extreme, and they are rules and demands on our voices. Yes, I have a black voice, but I've never gone to prison, have two "baby mamas", etc. Nuance and individualism get lost in the conversation. So does human understanding.
                      "A screenwriter is much like being a fire hydrant with a bunch of dogs lined up around it.- -Frank Miller

                      "A real writer doesn't just want to write; a real writer has to write." -Alan Moore

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by RandomBloke View Post
                        It's not white supremacist to be white and worry about the futures of your sons and their sons, given how things are going.
                        I'm sure this is just a terrible coincidence, but that's awfully close to a famous quote: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." For those of you who don't recognize the quote, it's from white supremacist David Lane. You'll often see it referred to as "the fourteen words" online, or just 14/88. (The "88" because "H" is the 8th letter, and it means "Heil HItler."

                        As a middle aged white guy, I find the other middle aged white guys who are complaining about diversity are the ones who can't get a job because they're not talented, and are looking for something to blame it on. YMMV.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Madbandit View Post

                          What I get from JoeNYC is the fear of entertainment becoming agitprop.
                          “agitprop,” meaning it appears to be art but is actually political propaganda.

                          For me, it’s just about artistic freedom, Madbandit.

                          Madbandit says, “Just look, without being 100% disgusted, ‘Birth Of A Nation’ by D.W. Griffith. It made black people look evil and stupid and white people are heroic.”

                          Madbandit is your point that if artistic freedom means we have stories like “Birth of a Nation,” then censor and control on it is a good thing?

                          There are many different works of art that have elements that people will find objectionable. This is why artistic freedom is so valuable to protect.”

                          The 1915 “Birth of a Nation” is one of the most -- if not the most -- racist films in film history. In one aspect of its story, it depicts black people being worthy of being lynched. Atrocious and obscene? Yes. Does this mean we as a society should ban this type of artistic freedom on an artist?

                          Even though the NAACP spearheaded an unsuccessful campaign to ban the film it was conflicted because the organization also supports civil liberties, which includes artistic freedom.

                          D.W. Griffith, Kentucky son of a colonel in the Confederate Army, adapted the screenplay from a 1905 novel and play titled “The Clansman” by Thomas Dixon.

                          The movie is set in a South Carolina town, before and after the Civil War.

                          From Roger Ebert:

                          ”To understand ‘The Birth of a Nation’ we must first understand the difference between what we bring to the film, and what the film brings to us. All serious moviegoers must sooner or later arrive at a point where they see a film for what it is, and not simply for what they feel about it. ‘The Birth of a Nation’ is not a bad film because it argues for evil. Like Riefenstah’s ‘Triumph of the Will,’ it is a great film that argues for evil. To understand how it does so is to learn a great deal about film, and even something about evil.”

                          ”The Birth of a Nation” was the highest-grossing film until “Gone with the Wind” came along, which was another Civil War and Reconstruction film that was taken off the air for awhile because of protest about how the slaves were depicted.

                          We cannot outlaw books, films, paintings, etc., because it offends a particular person, group, or whatever.

                          Artistic freedom, no matter how offensive, must be free of someone’s idea of what is appropriate.

                          The history of American culture, as depicted through the arts, should be available for all to witness and to be judged for themselves.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
                            The history of American culture, as depicted through the arts, should be available for all to witness and to be judged for themselves.
                            Yes. And the Academy Awards are only open to films that have been produced and distributed to the public.

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                            • #44
                              I feel like this conversation is a massive overreaction. Having 30 percent of your cast being minority individuals or simply women is such a massively low bar to meet that I'm pretty sure only certain war movies, period pieces, and biopics would be excluded.

                              I mean, it sucks for those filmmakers, but I don't think it's going to lead to the sons of the sons of my White brethren being put in concentration camps.
                              Last edited by Prezzy; 10-27-2020, 12:08 PM.

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                              • #45
                                For a fleeting moment I thought this may be an attempt at parody. Alas... no.

                                Originally posted by RandomBloke View Post
                                I'm sorry, but I agree with Joe 100%.

                                This isn't about winning Oscars - it's about the knock-on effects! There are plenty of black-only, women-only, this region-only, etc. competitions - so why make the biggest and most influential cater to the left too?
                                There you go. The left. By all means -- we must keep the #OscarsSoWhite.

                                Originally posted by RandomBloke View Post
                                Soon we'll end up having to enforce female directors at the expense of men, blacks at the expense of whites, etc., in the whole Western world, just to qualify for grants or land distribution!

                                It's not white supremacist to be white and worry about the futures of your sons and their sons, given how things are going.
                                Sons. No daughters. The future? What future is that? A future where white men can't leverage their privilege simply because they're white and male and bring little else to the table?

                                Originally posted by RandomBloke View Post
                                The BBC recently released an advertisement for a "black trainee newsreader". Yes, only black people could apply, while, not so long ago, the Head of Comedy at Britain's ITV boasted how she wouldn't commission anything coming from all-male writing teams.

                                I shan't say who and I don't know if it's true, but I was told by a producer that a certain massive online SOVD would only commission original content that met its LGBT quota.

                                If you can't see where this is all going, then there's not much point continuing the conversation. Needless to say though: audiences are growing increasingly discontent with the ridiculous agendas being forced upon them and being made to feel like 2nd citizens in their own nations!
                                Does this include nations where non-white indigenous people were conquered and colonized by white men? White men control the majority of wealth in the western nations. I don't think you need to worry about being demoted to second-class citizens any time soon.

                                Originally posted by RandomBloke View Post
                                You can counter this with the usual, "You're racist/sexist/homophobic" mindless slur, or you can wonder why middle-aged white men are more frequently committing suicide (not that this alone is the reason).
                                Perhaps they're committing suicide after decades of maintaining a cartoonish stereotype of what a white man should be. Though white male privilege provides the benefit of being first in line, the downside is that it takes a psychological toll. Pretending to always be strong, always be brave, always know the answer to every question under the sun. Your value as a human being being measured by the size your bank account. Maintaining the facade of omnipotence at all costs. It must be exhausting.

                                Something I witnessed years ago is seared into my memory. The CEO of a company where I worked brought his 4-year-old twin sons to the office. He was parading them around showing them where Daddy worked. I thought it was sweet, touching. But the boys became a bit wingey and whiney. As 4-year olds tend to do. Towering over them, he shouted: "Stop it. Act like men!" They froze, terrified. Later, when he decided to take them home, he said: "Men! Follow me."

                                I can't imagine the burden, at such a young age, to be expected to "act" like a man. But the operative word is: act. Isn't it? And how many little boys are conditioned in this way just barely out of diapers.

                                Originally posted by RandomBloke View Post

                                ... PPS. That was my last comment in this thread, as I've said it all and, unfortunately, this already likely means I'll be painted unpopular, if not loathsome.
                                No. I feel sorry for you. What you've written above is rife with fear.
                                Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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