Richard Dreyfuss on new Oscars diversity rules: ‘They make me vomit’
Actor Richard Dreyfuss is not a fan of the Academy Awards’ new diversity guidelines.
Officials announced in 2020 that beginning in 2024, movies must meet certain criteria for representation to be eligible for the Academy Award for best picture.
Films have to meet at least two of four benchmarks, which cover – among other things – whether the lead actors are from underrepresented groups or if at least 30% of the cast and crew come from these groups.
Dreyfuss told Margaret Hoover during an interview Friday on the PBS series “Firing Line” that such rules “make me vomit.”
When Hoover asked him why, the actor said, “Because this is an art form.”
“It’s also a form of commerce and it makes money,” the actor said. “But it’s an art. And no one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give into the latest, most current idea of what morality is.”
The inclusion standards were enacted in an attempt to address inequality in the industry, which gave rise to the #OscarsSoWhite movement in 2015.
“I don’t think that there is a minority or a majority in this country that has to be catered to like that,” Dreyfuss went on to say during the interview.
He then cited a bit of a history regarding Laurence Olivier being “the last white actor to play Othello,” referring to the 1965 film, in which the British actor performed in blackface
Dreyfuss praised the performance, saying Olivier played the role “brilliantly.”
“Am I being told that I will never have a chance to play a Black man?” Dreyfuss said. “Is someone else being told that if they’re not Jewish they shouldn’t play the Merchant of Venice? Are we crazy? Do we not know that art is art?
Hoover pushed back, asking if there’s “a difference between the question of representation and who is allowed to represent other groups … and the case of blackface, given the history of slavery and the sensitives around black racism?”
Dreyfuss said, “There shouldn’t be.”
“Because it’s patronizing,” he said. “Because it says that we’re so fragile that we can’t have our feelings hurt.”
CNN has contacted reps for Dreyfuss for further comment but has not yet received a response.