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Richard Dreyfuss says new Oscars diversity rules 'make him vomit'

Richard Dreyfuss says new Oscars diversity rules 'make him vomit'

The Jaws actor spoke about the new guidelines on The Firing Line

Richard Dreyfuss says that the new Oscar diversity rules make him 'vomit'.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the governing body of the Academy Awards, is set to bring in new guidelines for films vying for a Best Picture Oscar.

These requirements, which are set to go into effect next year, will require movies meet two out of four requirements, which include having one 'lead or significant supporting actors' be from an 'underrepresented racial or ethnic group'.

Other guidelines also say the 30 percent of all actors in 'secondary or minor roles' should be from an 'underrepresented group' and that the storyline, theme or narrative of the film must center on underrepresented groups.

And when the Jaws actor was recently asked for his opinion on the new guidelines, he didn't hold back.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss criticised the Academy's new Best Picture guidelines.
The Firing Line/Twitter

The 75-year-old, who was being interviewed by Margaret Hoover on PBS's Firing Line, said: "It makes me vomit.

"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.

"You have to let life be life and I’m sorry, I don’t think there is a minority or majority in the country that has to be catered to like that."

In his interview, Dreyfuss also commented on blackface, specifically with regards to the late actor Laurence Oliver donning black face to play the role of Othello.

The American Graffiti star said: "Laurence Olivier was the last white actor to play Othello, and he did it in 1965.

"And he did it in blackface. 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 the Merchant of Venice? Are we crazy? Do we not know that art is art?"

Dreyfuss is best known for his role as Matt Hooper in Jaws.
Universal Pictures

He then added: "This is so patronising. It’s so thoughtless and treating people like children."

Dreyfuss' comments have since generated a backlash on social media, with many people criticising his remarks.

Back in 2020, the Academy said that the new standards were made to 'encourage equitable representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience'.

Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said that they 'will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry'.

Featured Image Credit: Sipa US / Alamy Stock Photo/Sarah Stewart / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Film and TV, Oscars, Celebrity