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HomeTVRichard Dreyfuss Says New Diversity Rules for Oscars 'Make Me Vomit'

Richard Dreyfuss Says New Diversity Rules for Oscars ‘Make Me Vomit’

In an interview on PBSFiring Line with Margaret Hoover, Richard Dreyfuss has slammed new diversity and inclusion requirements for next year’s Oscars and said the rules “make me vomit.”

The veteran actor went on to comment, “Because this is an art form. It’s also a form of commerce, and it makes money. But it’s an art. And 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.”

He was responding to inclusion requirements, which went into effect in 2020, requiring nominees for Best Picture to include “on-screen representation, themes, and narratives; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development,” according to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

One of three of these requirements must be met, said the Academy. At least one actor from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group must be cast in a significant role; the story must center on women, LGBTQ people, a racial or ethnic group, or the disabled; or at least 30 percent of the cast must be actors from at least two of those four underrepresented categories.

Dryfuss called the requirements “patronizing,” saying, “What are we risking? Are we really risking hurting people’s feelings? You can’t legislate that, and you have to let life be life. And I’m sorry, I don’t think that there is a minority or a majority in the country that has to be catered to like that.”

As a point of reference, the Jaws actor said Laurence Olivier portrayed Othello in blackface in 1965, a controversial decision even then.

“He played a Black man brilliantly,” Dreyfuss said. “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? Do we not know that art is art?”

“This is so patronizing. It’s so thoughtless and treating people like children,” he continued.

After that question, they moved on to the topic of current films, which led to Dreyfuss explaining his disdain for sequels and how it went hand in hand with him not reprising his role in Jaws 2.

“We’re going through this strange need to not create but to create sequels,” he laughed. “Sequels are death. Oh, there was a sequel to Jaws. But there wasn’t, no, never it never came close to the brilliance of the first Jaws. And I’m very proud of that, very happy about that.”

This story originally appeared on TV Insider

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