Richard Dreyfuss on the new Oscars diversity rules: “They make me vomit”

(CNN) Actor Richard Dreyfuss isn’t a fan of the Oscars’ new diversity guidelines.

Officials announced in 2020 that beginning in 2024, films must meet certain representational criteria to be eligible for the Best Picture Oscar.

Films must meet at least two of the four benchmarks, which cover – among other things – whether the lead actors are from underrepresented groups or whether at least 30% of the cast and crew are from these groups .

Dreyfuss told Margaret Hoover during a Friday interview on the PBS series “Firing Line” that such rules “make me vomit.”

When Hoover asked him why, the actor replied, “Because it’s an art form.”

“It’s also a form of business and it makes money,” the actor said. “But it’s an art. And no one should tell me as an artist that I have to give in to the newest, most current idea of ​​what morality is.”

The Inclusion Standards were enacted in an effort to address inequality in the industry, which gave rise to the #OscarsSoWhite movement in 2015.

“I don’t think there’s a minority or a majority in this country that has to be satisfied like that,” Dreyfuss continued during the interview.

He then cited a bit of history that Laurence Olivier was “the last white actor to play Othello”, referencing the 1965 film, in which the British actor starred in blackface.

Dreyfuss praised the performance, saying Olivier played the role “brilliantly”.

“Am I being told that I will never have the chance to play a black man?” said Dreyfuss. “Do we tell someone else that if he’s not Jewish, he shouldn’t play the Merchant of Venice?” Are we crazy? Don’t we know that art is art?

Hoover pushed back, asking if there’s “a difference between the question of representation and who is allowed to represent other groups … and the case of blackface, given the history of slavery and the sensitivities around black racism?

Dreyfuss said, “There shouldn’t be.”

“Because it’s condescending,” he said. “Because he says we’re so fragile we can’t hurt each other.”

CNN has reached out to Dreyfuss’ representatives for further comment, but has not yet received a response.

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