The Coming Backlash to the Oscars’ Diversity Mandate

It’s easy to make fun of the Oscars’ new set of diversity requirements: Are we going to have to watch Lieutenant Colonel Anne Hathaway tossing grenades at Jerry in the next WWI movie? In the media, the initial response has been to gush praise for this “landmark,” “watershed” moment in which the Academy Awards have mandated hiring quotas for any film that wishes to be eligible for Best Picture (but not any of the other awards).

In about ten seconds, I predict, the Left is going to be furious. “We’ve been had,” they’ll surely scream. Let’s look at the details.

In order to qualify for Best Picture consideration, films will have to meet two out of four specified criteria. The first is the showiest but also the silliest, calling for diversity in casting and themes; it’s unworkable if you’re starting, as do a great many Oscar contenders, with an established historical record. You can’t pretend that Ford v. Ferrari or The Irishman was about minorities or women or gay liberation or handicapped people. Most producers of top-quality films will simply laugh off that top-line requirement and try to hit two of the other three. Which won’t be that hard.