(LifeSiteNews) — An Oscar-winning actor has condemned Hollywood’s new “inclusion standards” for films to be eligible to win Academy Awards.
Richard Dreyfuss, a 76-year-old actor who starred in 20th century classics including Jaws and Mr. Holland’s Opus, recently spoke with Margaret Hoover on the PBS show Firing Line, when he shared his disgust at Hollywood’s “inclusion standards.” During his career, Dreyfuss won an Oscar in 1978 for Best Actor in The Goodbye Girl and another nomination for the same award in 1996 for his portrayal of the main character in Mr. Holland’s Opus.
The new guidelines for the Oscars, set to take full effect in 2024, must be met if a film is to be considered for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Asked his thoughts on the new standards, Dreyfuss said bluntly, “They make me vomit.”
“This is an art form,” he continued, explaining his reaction. “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 into 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. 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.”
For the same reasons, Dreyfuss also criticized sensitivities to actors playing characters of different races, wondering if they would now be barred from portraying leads who come from a different race, culture or religion.
“Are we crazy?” the actor went on. “Do we not know that art is art? This is so patronizing. It’s so thoughtless and treating people like children.”
He argued that taking such precautions “says we’re so fragile that we can’t have our feelings hurt” but that “we have to anticipate having our feelings hurt” in life.
Updated ‘inclusion’ guidelines
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officially launched its “representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility” in September 2020, with plans to require the standards to be met starting in 2024. The guidelines are specifically for the Best Picture award.
“The standards are designed to encourage equitable representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience,” reads a release and description of the new guidelines.
The organization’s president and CEO at the time were quoted in the release as saying that the guidelines and ongoing assessment of “inclusion” are an effort to establish “long-lasting, essential change in our industry.” They also stated that “the Academy is committed to” enact changes “to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them.”
For the 2022 and 2023 Oscars, production teams were required to file “a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form” to be eligible for Best Picture. Beginning next year, two out of four specified standards categories must be met “to be deemed eligible” for the award.
The requirements are stipulations to include “underrepresented groups” in leadership roles in the production of a given film, including actors, technical crew members, creative designers and directors, and marketing leaders. “Underrepresented groups” are defined as women, racial or ethnic groups, those who self-identity as “LGBTQ+” and “people with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing.”
To check boxes and gain eligibility for Best Picture nominations, the four categories include different options and specific requirements, such as insisting that multiple “department heads” or “at least 30%” of an ensemble cast or crew consists of members from the groups designated as “underrepresented.” Other options include funding internships and learning opportunities specifically for members of the same groups.
While Dreyfuss is the most recent example of a prominent Hollywood figure calling out and criticizing the industry’s conversion to woke agendas, he isn’t the first. In March, actor and comedian Woody Harrelson told The New York Times that he disagreed with the “nonsense” of Hollywood’s COVID-19 policies, saying, “I don’t think that anybody should have the right to demand that you’re forced to do the testing, forced to wear the mask, and forced to get vaccinated.”
The Office star Rainn Wilson also called out “the anti-Christian bias in Hollywood” that is portrayed by creating religious characters who are designed to become villains in films.