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Richard Dreyfuss: Oscar’s New Diversity Rules ‘Make Me Vomit’

by Amber Simmons

Many stars likely oppose the Oscars’ new diversity rules. They’re just afraid to say so aloud.

Actors know the professional blowback could be considerable for sharing that opinion.

Not Richard Dreyfuss.

The Oscar-winning star of “Jaws,” “What About Bob?” and other beloved films isn’t afraid to stick his neck out on the subject.

Starting next year, a film must check select boxes to be eligible for a Best Picture statuette. That could mean telling an “inclusive” story or featuring enough people of color in the movie’s cast and/or crew.

Dreyfuss spoke with PBS anchor Margaret Hoover on her “Firing Line” program Friday on a wide range of issues, including the Oscars’ diversity measures.

Suffice it to say he strongly disagrees with the policy.

“They make me vomit” Dreyfuss says. “This is an art form … 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.”


Dreyfuss routinely shares opinions that clash with the progressive world view. He’s also eager to speak with folks across the ideological aisle, including right-leaning talker Dave Rubin.

The actor sounded off on another, even more, contentious issue during the conversation. That exchange may cause the most serious career repercussions.

Dreyfuss praised Laurence Olivier’s 1965 performance, done in blackface, of “Othello” for the 1965 film

“Am I being told that I will never have a chance to play a Black man?” Dreyfuss asks. “Are we crazy? Do we not know that art is art?”

Hoover pressed him on the matter, noting the cruel history of blackface in America’s past and how that complicates the roles an actor might take.

Dreyfuss called such talk “patronizing,” adding there shouldn’t be a difference between an actor portraying a member of one group or another.

“Firing Line with Margaret Hoover” airs at 8:30 p.m. on PBS stations and via YouTube.

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