Richard Dreyfuss criticizes Oscars over new diversity standards

The Oscar-winner is not a fan of the forthcoming standards and regulations that will make the 2024 Oscars more inclusive to women and ethnic groups.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss harshly criticizes the new diversity and inclusion rules instituted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

During an interview on PBS’ “Firing Line With Margaret Hoover,” Dreyfuss commented on the Academy’s updated diversity initiative that would make requirements for Oscar contention more inclusive. In 2020, the Academy instituted four new, multi-tier regulations scheduled to take effect for the 2024 Academy Awards, according to Variety.

The regulations include new standards on including actors and actresses of underrepresented ethnic groups in leading or significant acting roles; a film must have at least two creative leadership positions (i.e., cinematographer, casting director, etc.) be either a woman, a non-white racial or ethnic group or LGBTQ+; films must provide internships or paid apprenticeships to people of underrepresented communities; studios and-or film companies must have senior executives from underrepresented communities.

2023 TCM Classic Film Festival Day 2 – Friday
Richard Dreyfuss speaks onstage at the screening of “American Graffiti” during the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 14, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for TCM)

Dreyfuss disagrees with the Academy’s new standard regulations, saying they make him “vomit,” suggesting that the inclusive methods are purely for political correctness rather than creativity.

“It’s an art. 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? You can’t legislate that,” Dreyfuss said.

The Oscar winner mentioned a performance of late British actor Laurence Olivier wearing Blackface during Shakespeare’s “Othello,” seemingly defending the act.

“He played a Black man brilliantly. Am I being told that I will never have a chance to play a Black man? Is someone else being told that if they’re not Jewish, they shouldn’t play [in] ‘The Merchant of Venice’? Are we crazy?” Dreyfuss continued, saying the news rhetorical behind the new regulations are “patronizing” and “thoughtless.”

Over the years, the Academy has caught criticism for a lack of Black and ethnic winners and nominees, prompting the #OscarsSoWhite campaign.

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