Have you heard about Aperture 2025?
It may sound like a Roland Emmerich sci-fi movie, but it’s actually more frightening. And much more controversial. It’s the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’s latest initiative to make Hollywood more equitable and diverse—more woke—by changing the rules by which films are eligible for Best Picture nominations. Here’s how it works: Starting in 2024, producers will be required to submit a summation of the race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability status of members of their movie’s cast and crew. If a particular movie does not have enough people of color or disabled people or gays or lesbians working on the set—and what is “enough” will be determined by a knotty tangle of byzantine formularies—then that movie will no longer be eligible for an Oscar.
Not surprisingly, the plan is not being universally applauded in Hollywood. Critics say it’s invasive, anticreative, opens the door to privacy issues, and is spectacularly unfair to actors and crew members, who may want to keep their sexual orientation or health profiles to themselves, not to mention to producers and directors who have enough to worry about while shooting a movie than to be saddled with the thankless task of tallying up the identity markers of their creative partners.
“I mean, why aren’t animals in this?” sneers one industry insider. “What if the main character is a horse?”
Unfortunately, Aperture 2025 isn’t the only Academy initiative to recently raise eyebrows in Hollywood. In February, Oscar organizers triggered a civil war in Hollywood over a plan to pretape many of the below-the-line categories—film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design, the short-film selections—and roll edits of those awards into the live broadcast. Predictably, many Academy members (especially film editors, makeup and hairstylists, and production designers) balked at the change, but at least that one was designed to address an actual existential threat to the ceremony: that it’s become so long and boring that huge swaths of the audience have begun tuning out.