“Richard Dreyfuss Criticizes Movie Academy’s Diversity Efforts, Expresses Strong Disapproval.”

Richard Dreyfuss

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is making changes to increase diversity and inclusion among Oscar nominees, but actor Richard Dreyfuss strongly disagrees with their approach.

Dreyfuss, who won an Oscar in 1978, criticized the academy’s diversity measures during an interview. He expressed his disdain, calling them “vomit-inducing.”

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In response to social unrest in 2020, the academy announced plans to improve representation in its governance, membership, workplace culture, and nominated films. Starting from the 2024 Oscars, eligible films must meet specific diversity criteria in areas such as onscreen representation, creative leadership, industry access, and audience development. The aim is to include underrepresented groups, such as women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and those with disabilities. These standards will not apply to other Oscar categories.

These changes come after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2015, where the academy was criticized for overlooking Black and other artists of color.

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Dreyfuss opposes the academy’s efforts, arguing against being told what is morally right as an artist. He questions whether he will be restricted from playing a character of a different race, referring to Laurence Olivier’s performance in blackface. Dreyfuss believes these efforts undermine the art of acting and imply that people are too fragile to have their feelings hurt.

Despite Dreyfuss’s opposition, the Oscars have seen gradual changes over the years. A study showed increased nominations for underrepresented racial or ethnic groups and women after 2015. This year, Michelle Yeoh made history as the first Asian lead actress winner, but there was criticism for the lack of Black performers in the acting categories.

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While acknowledging some progress, critics argue that “firsts” in 2023 highlight the need for further change. Organizations need to make necessary adjustments and address why they are still resistant to diversity.

The debate continues as the academy strives for greater representation and inclusivity while facing opposition from some within the industry.