Richard Dreyfuss says new Oscars diversity rules ‘make me vomit’
Richard Dreyfuss has criticised new Oscars diversity rules, revealing they “make me vomit”.
The Jaws actor, 75, voiced his anger at the Academy of Motion Picture Art’s “tick box” measures, introduced following pressure from the US Black Lives Matter campaign.
The Academy will disqualify films from Best Picture contention without enough Black, gay and disabled actors in the cast and crew from 2024.
On an episode of PBS’s Firing Line, Richard said the Academy was treating people like children.
Asked by host Margaret Hoover, how he felt about the criteria, he replied: “It makes me vomit.
“No one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is. What are we risking?
“Are we really risking hurting people’s feelings? “ He went on: “You can’t legislate that. You have to let life be life and I’m sorry, I don’t think there is a minority or majority in the country that has to be catered to like that.”
Hoover asked if there is a difference between “the question of representation and who is allowed to represent other groups,” citing blackface and the “history of slavery” to which he said: “There shouldn’t be…it’s patronising.”
Dreyfuss defended Laurence Olivier’s “brilliant” performance in the 1965 film Othello in which he portrayed the lead in black make-up.
He added: “Are we crazy? Do we not know that art is art? This is so patronising. It’s so thoughtless, and treating people like children.”
Under the Best Picture rules, films will need at least one lead from an “underrepresented racial or ethnic group”; at least 30 per cent of the cast from two of these groups – ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQ+ people or the disabled – or having the movie’s subject be one.
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