Richard Dreyfuss Rips Into the Oscars’ Diversity Requirements

Richard Dreyfuss in body paint holding up Jenna Elfman

Actor Richard Dreyfuss isn’t happy about the Academy Awards’ new diversity rules.

Per Entertainment Weekly, Dreyfuss complained about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ recently introduced diversity requirements. The new rule, going into effect in 2024, will set a standard that Best Picture nominees must have a certain percentage of the cast and crew made up of members of underrepresented or marginalized communities. In response, the Jaws actor stated, “They make me vomit.”


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Dreyfuss’ career began as an uncredited assistant stage manager for Valley of the Dolls in 1967 before ballooning to encompass multiple Academy Award nominations and a win for best actor in 1978’s The Goodbye Girl. He expanded on his dissatisfaction with the Academy’s upcoming rules change, asking, “What are we risking? Are we really risking hurting people’s feelings? You can’t legislate that.” Dreyfuss continued, “Laurence Olivier was the last white actor to play Othello, and 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?” Dreyfuss went on to call the rule changes “patronizing.”

Complaints About Diversity at the Oscars

Dreyfuss’ comments stand in staunch opposition to many comments regarding the Academy Awards that have been made by various Hollywood insiders over the past year. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins also criticized the Oscars for their lack of diversity, particularly in regard to the absence of female nominees in the category of Best Director. “I say that even with all of their push to have diversity,” Jenkins said. “The numbers are just hugely imbalanced of who votes for these things. I sort of just stopped paying attention to it.”

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These sentiments echoed those made by Jenkins in 2019, in which she called out the Academy for pushing a narrative of embracing diversity while the voting committee is still overwhelmingly made up of an older male audience. “The Academy is working on this,” Jenkins said at the time, “but the real issue to me is that at the end of the day, no matter what movie you make and no matter how much money it makes, and no matter how diverse the audience is, the voting academy is still very, very limited.”

Furthermore, actors of color, especially women, rarely win at the Academy Awards, something Michele Yeoh’s Oscar win shone a light on. And Dreyfuss’ inflammatory statements only further highlight the issue.

Source: Entertainment Weekly


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