The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King has been one of the most successful films of all times at the Academy Awards. But would it have met the new diversity standards so it could hypothetically qualify for the Best Picture Oscar in 2024? And would the fact that it is based on existing older source material affect the requirements somehow?

  • 1
    Almost certainly there is no exemption for "older source material". That has no effect on production hiring, nor does it prevent x-blind casting.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 14:06
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    The article seems to be conflating actors and roles to some degree, though. The latter is not as freely controllable as the former in all aspects.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 14:08
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    Why would we apply new changed stands to a movie thats already been made...and may have influenced the new standards to be what they are? Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 18:19
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    The question isn't trying to necessarily apply these standards to the film retroactively. It is trying to gain understanding of how these standards work in practice and how they would change things by seeing them work out on a (granted, older, but still not that old) example. Or at least that's the most productive interpretation of the question. Of course we also need to see how it actually works out on new films rather than pretending the films from yesteryear would be made now, but until that we need some reasonable practical examples to go by and judge the changes' impact.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 19:22
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    The movie franchise in its entirety had a fairly diverse ensemble including humans, elves, dwarves, hobbits, and orcs. Although, the orcs were represented in a particularly bad light. They did not show even one positive orc role-model. I vote for Bright for best picture.
    – Dean F.
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


Standard A - 0/3 - FAIL

  • A1 - Lead or significant supporting actors are all white - FAIL
  • A2 - General ensebmle cast still mostly white males - FAIL
  • A3 - Main storyline/subject matter (I think hobbits don't count as a racial group) - FAIL

Standard B - 2/3 - PASS

  • B1 - at least two Creative leadership and department heads - Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens are writers, also 4 out of 5 casting directors were women, but at least one of them should be not white, but I haven't found any of them to be white - FAIL
  • B2 - Other key roles - FAIL
  • B3 - Overall crew composition - IMDb cast list has probably 1000 people there, but at first glance, at least 30% of them are women - PASS

Standard C - 0/2 - FAIL or PASS

  • C1 - Paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities - Not sure if this information is anywhere online to be found.
  • C2 - Training opportunities and skills development (crew) - Not sure if this information is anywhere online to be found.

Standard D - 0/1 - FAIL or PASS

  • D1 - Representation in marketing, publicity, and distribution - I have found at least one woman: Laura Carrillo (senior vice president, creative advertising, New Line, in 2004)

Conclusion: Based on the information I have found, this movie only passed one of four categories. But I don't have access to all information about the movie. If any other women or person from racial or ethnic group worked in marketing, then The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King would have passed the standards. Also if they had any training or apprenticeship or internship for women or racial or ethnic groups, it would also have passed.

IMPORTANT: I believe that people's sexuality is their own matter, checking who is and who is not a part of the LGBTQ+ is not decent. And not everybody talks publicly about their sexuality. All I know is that Ian McKellen (Gandalf) is openly gay. Maybe more of actors are also in the LGBTQ+ community, but it is impossible to check this standards. I mean nothing would stop the studio from convincing some of the lead actors to come out as gay even if they were not.

  • @BenMurphy You are right. I must have read them wrong, since both B1 and B3 are about women, but B2 is not, my fault.
    – TK-421
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 6:28
  • “I think hobbits don't count as a racial group” — The first movie refers to “the race of men” a couple of times, and Elrond initially addresses his Council as “Each race…”, so they certainly seem like different races in-universe, even if not in moviemaking terms.  (In fact, the LOTR World Wiki lists eight separate races of men — Men of Gondor, Rohirrim, Men of Dale, Dúnedain, Beornings, Easterlings, Haradrim, and Dunlendings — along with dwarves, elves, hobbits, Maiar, Valar, etc., though I don't know if that has canonical support.)
    – gidds
    Commented Jan 16 at 15:23

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