Actor Richard Dreyfuss has an enviable number of hit movies on his resume, classics like “Jaws,” the 1977 romance “The Goodbye Girl”—which won Oscars for Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Actress, and Best Picture—“Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the hysterical comedy “What About Bob,” and many more. (If I skipped your favorite it’s because he has so many good movies to his name.)
Hollywood has been very, very good to Richard Dreyfuss—but he is not pleased with the Academy of Motion Pictures’ new diversity requirements that productions must meet in order to be considered for an Oscar. In a recent interview with PBS’s Firing Line, the star had a biting response when host Margaret Hoover asked if he agreed with the rules:
Hoover: Starting in 2024, films will be required to meet new inclusion standards to be eligible for the Academy Awards for best picture. They’ll have to have a certain percentage of actors or crew from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups.
What do you think of these new inclusion standards for films?
Dreyfuss: They make me vomit.
I’m guessing the PBS anchor almost had a coronary—a Hollywood star speaking out against progressive ideology? Unheard of.
But Dreyfuss wasn’t finished.
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.
The Guardian explains the rules that will be coming down the pike:
According to the Academy’s new regulations, which will come into effect for the 2025 Oscars, films seeking best picture nominations must meet two out of four requirements.
The requirements include having at least one lead character in the movie be from an “an underrepresented racial or ethnic group”, having at least 30% of the general ensemble cast be from at least two underrepresented groups (women, racial ethnic, LGBTQ+ or people with disabilities), or having the movie’s subject focus on one of those groups.
The funnyman went on to question the unquestionable: namely, that blackface is unacceptable—period. Not so, says the actor:
Lawrence 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?
This is so patronizing. It’s so thoughtless and treating people like children.
It's crazy to consider how recently blackface was considered legitimate in the arts.
Lawrence Olivier played Othello in blackface in 1965 with a ridiculous accent and goofy walk. pic.twitter.com/HNay6wo4vI
— Jean-Michel Connard 🎃 (@torriangray) April 2, 2022
As my colleague Nick Arama reported in January, this isn’t the first time Dreyfuss has stepped out of the ultra-liberal Hollywood lane—in fact, he stopped acting to focus on getting people to “see America” again. Arama explains:
He’s given up acting. His quest is for people to see America again, to recognize what we all have been given by this special gift of being Americans, to appreciate our Constitution, and to study civics so that we know what we have been given, and what we must preserve.
You’ve got to get kids in love with “those values,” Dreyfuss told Glenn Beck during a lengthy interview, but “they have been gone from the curriculum for fifty years.” Dreyfuss called out the failure to teach those founding documents. “That’s the core problem,” he said. “They have no idea about the Constitution, they have no idea about the Bill of Rights. None.”
He’s written a book on the subject called “One Thought Scares Me” in which he describes how we’ve taken civics out of education and it’s doing great damage to our national identity. He also appeared on “The Rubin Report” recently to lament Americans’ ignorance of the Constitution:
It’s rare to see a Hollywood star speak so passionately about these issues and not just parrot the talking points of progressives and far-left Democrats. Luckily for Dreyfuss, he’s already had a legendary career, so he doesn’t need to worry about getting canceled.