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Richard Dreyfuss Says New Oscars Diversity Rules “Make Me Vomit”


As a veteran of Hollywood, Richard Dreyfuss has earned his right to air his opinions on the industry. However, his recent comments on the Academy’s new rules around Best Picture nominations have come under fire on social media as the Jaws star took a chunk out of the idea that he is being told that his movies must meet new “inclusion standards” to be eligible for the biggest awards come Oscars night.


The new rules put in place by the Academy will be a consideration from 2024. While speaking to Dreyfuss on PBS’ Firing Line, host Margaret Hoover explained to the actor:

“Starting in 2024, films will be required to meet new inclusion standards to be eligible for the Academy Awards for Best Picture. They’ll have to have a certain percentage of actors or crew from under-represented racial or ethnic groups.”

Dreyfuss then responded with his take on the way being dictated to what can and cannot be included in movies, as well as who can and cannot play certain roles is not something that he agrees with. He said:

“They make me vomit. This is an art form. It’s also a form of commerce, and it makes money, but 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. And 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. 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 the ‘Merchant of Venice?’ Are we crazy? Do we not know that art is art?”

Related Disney’s Peter Pan & Wendy Trailer Praised for Tiger Lilly Casting, But Draws More Race-Swap Backlash


Richard Dreyfuss Says Being Overly Sensitive To Historical Racism is Patronizing.

Universal Pictures

The subject of race has always been the forefront of many heavy debates about should be offered certain roles and who shouldn’t. in recent years, this had become more complicated with Black actors being cast in roles as historical figures who were not Black, while as Dreyfuss says, no white actor would not be allowed to play someone Black. His comments drew Hoover to ask him more about his opinion.

“Do you think there’s a difference between the question of…who is allowed to represent other groups…and the case of blackface explicitly in this country given the history of slavery and the sensitivities around Black racism?” Hoover asked in her follow-up question, to which Dreyfuss replied:

“There shouldn’t be because it’s patronizing, because it says we’re so fragile that we can’t have our feelings hurt. We have to anticipate having our feelings hurt, our children’s feelings hurt. We don’t know how to stand up and bop the bully in the face.”

The subject is clearly one that is a long way from having any kind of middle ground with opinions massively divided one way or the other. Whenever a new casting announcement is made in relation to existing properties where gender or race-swapping has occurred, the response on social media is immediate and often brutal. You can see Dreyfuss’ full interview in the video below.



This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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