2021 oscars date

Ever since the #OscarsSoWhite debacle of 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have been making significant strides to try to change their image as a creaky, majority-white institution. They’ve welcomed more women, people of color, and international stars into their ranks, expanded their categories, and so on. But the Academy may have made its most significant stride yet with the new introduction of inclusion standards into the Oscars eligibility rules. To be eligible for a Best Picture nomination, films must meet a minimum of two of the four new Oscar inclusion standards just announced by the Academy.

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fx directors

For the first time in the network’s history, FX will have more directors who are women and people of color than white men. FX’s diversity outreach has finally started to shift the balance behind the camera, as the line-up of FX directors of 2021 is set to be majority diverse.

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women in indie films

Women directors, writers, editors and producers are making strides in the indie film industry, but there’s still a long way to go. According to a new study from San Diego State University, the number of women in indie film productions hit a “historic high,” are still by outnumbered men 2-to-1.

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A Wrinkle in Time images

Time’s Up issued a challenge this week that has already seen the support of at least 50 high-profile producers and actors and one major studio. The challenge: to commit to hiring at least one female director in the next 18 months in an effort to push Hollywood toward greater diversity behind the camera in addition to in front of it. Named after the statistic that only 4% of the top 100 studio films in the last decade were directed by women, the 4% Challenge made major inroads yesterday when Universal became the first major Hollywood studio to commit to it.

Now one of the biggest major studios, Walt Disney Pictures, is addressing the 4% Challenge with claims that it has already won.

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Is Netflix Targeting Users By Race?

Netflix Behind the Scenes

There’s something funny happening with your Netflix thumbnails. The streaming giant has perfected a recommendations algorithm that keeps its subscribers happy, or so they probably thought. Their latest innovation — which seemingly sees Netflix targeting users by race and gender — may be doing more harm than good.

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tv directors diversity

While Hollywood may still be trailing behind when it comes to gender equality, a new study from the Directors Guild of America has found that the pool of first-time episodic TV directors “is more inclusive than ever.” Both women and minorities have seen major gains in the past few years, and for the second year in a row, have set record highs for diversity in the TV directing industry.

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crazy rich asians stereotypes

Crazy. Rich. Asians. Every adjective in the title of Crazy Rich Asians sounds loaded at best, distasteful at worst. When trailers for Jon Chu’s movie started hitting the web, cries of racism inevitably began to surface. Why did it have to be Asians? Doesn’t that generalize an entire population of people? And does this mean that they’re crazy? Or crazy rich? What about poor Asians?

Asian-led projects are so rare in Hollywood that it becomes unavoidable that every movie, TV show, or media property will undergo intense scrutiny for how well it represents a minority group that makes up 5.6% of the U.S. population. Sure, every now and then a blockbuster will feature an Asian character (cue grumbles that it’s to appease the growing Chinese movie market), but they rarely appear as more than a supporting character or gasp, a token.

So immediately, Crazy Rich Asians is in a lot of hot water. While its protagonist is an Asian-American NYU professor, it mostly centers on the privileged Singaporean elite whose wealth and jet-setting lifestyle couldn’t feasibly represent every single Asian and Asian-American. And it doesn’t help that its tawdry title immediately calls to mind the abundance of stereotypes associated with Asians. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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apu controversy

The problem with Apu doesn’t seem like it will be solved any time soon. The Simpsons, which just hit a record-breaking 636 episodes, has been criticized for the Indian stereotypes pushed by its long-running character Apu, the Kwik-E-Mart owner voiced by Hank Azaria. And while the Fox sitcom dismissed the Apu controversy in a recent episode — igniting even more controversy — some people are willing to do something about it.

Castlevania producer Adi Shankar challenged writers to “fix” Apu, starting a contest to rewrite the character without mocking Indian stereotypes. But just as Shankar took us in a step in the right direction, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening took us one step back, doubling down on the show’s polarizing response.

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hank azaria apu

The problem with Apu has reached a fever pitch ever since The Simpsons decided to clumsily brush off criticisms of the character’s Indian stereotypes. But the voice actor behind Apu, Hank Azaria, has a much more dignified response to the controversy.

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live-action aladdin extras

So much for having a completely diverse cast.

The new Aladdin movie has caused a stir once again, and yes, it’s still related to race. Disney’s live-action remake of the 1992 animated classic has come under fire for “browning up” its white extras to look more Middle Eastern. This comes after director Guy Ritchie initially struggled to find actors of Middle Eastern or Arab descent to play its lead roles of Aladdin and Jasmine, and Billy Magnussen’s casting as a Nordic prince prompted criticism. And it seems that even in the midst of production, Aladdin‘s problems with race have not stopped.

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