Filmmaker Ron Howard said that his Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind would probably fail the Academy’s new diversity standards, which require that movies meet certain quotas on race and gender in order to be considered for the best picture category.
Ron Howard made the comments in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday, adding that he supports “the spirit” of the Academy’s diversity quotas.
Under new Academy rules to encourage Hollywood diversity, @RealRonHoward thinks his Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind “probably wouldn’t have qualified." Nonetheless, "I really support the spirit of what they’re trying to do and I also think audiences are beginning to expect it." pic.twitter.com/KpdO3BIIuT
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) September 25, 2020
During the interview, Amanpour specifically asked Howard about A Beautiful Mind, which won the 2001 Oscar for best picture.
“Do you think you could have won it under today’s new representative demands, and do you think this is going to work, more to the point?” she asked.
Howard replied: “Well, that project probably wouldn’t have qualified. You’re right. And I don’t know the details. It’s possible I could work on a project and they could say, well, you actually don’t qualify. But I don’t think that would be the case. Because in my heart, I really support the spirit of what they’re trying to do.”
He added: “I also think audiences are beginning to expect it. And I think we are in our own way a service business. We have to speak to our audiences in ways that resonate for them. But I think you’re right. I doubt if A Beautiful Mind would have met that criteria. But I really hope that in a very organic way, that all my projects in recent years and going forward, would meet that criteria.”
In addition to winning the Oscar for best picture, A Beautiful Mind took home Oscars for directing, supporting actress, and adapted screenplay.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued new diversity quotas earlier this month that are scheduled to take full effect in 2024. Under those rules, a movie’s cast and crew must reach certain quotas for women, ethnic minorities, disabled, and LGBTQ people. In addition, movies must meet certain diversity benchmarks in their marketing and internship programs.
The new requirements are part of the Academy’s ongoing efforts to diversify itself following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that started in 2015 and drew media attention to the Oscars’ historic tendency to honor white actors and filmmakers.
Since then, the Academy has sought to invite more female and minority voting members, with the latest round of inductees announced in June comprised of 45 percent women and 36 percent ethnic and racial minorities.