Kirstie Alley Slams New Motion Picture Academy Diversity Requirements as a 'Disgrace'
On Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced new changes to the eligibility requirements for the top prize at the Oscars as part of its new inclusion standards in its Academy Aperture 2025 initiative.
Under the new guidelines for Best Picture eligibility, films must meet two of four standards: on-screen representation, themes and narratives; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development.
“We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry,” the Academy said in a statement.
Reacting to the award show's rule change, Alley, well-known for her work on Cheers and Veronica's Closet, wrote on Twitter that the call for diversity in front of and behind the scenes is a "disgrace."
"This is a disgrace to artists everywhere...can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his f------ paintings. You people have lost your minds. Control artists, control individual thought .. OSCAR ORWELL," the Emmy winner said in a since-deleted tweet.
"I’ve been in the motion picture Academy for 40 years. The Academy celebrates freedom of UNBRIDLED artistry expressed through movies. The new RULES to qualify for 'best picture' are dictatorial .. anti-artist," Alley, 69, added. "Hollywood you’re swinging so far left you’re bumping into your own ass."
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The Look Who's Talking actress also explained that she feels "diversity and inclusion should be taught, taught so well and so naturally and genuinely that it becomes second nature to our children."
In response to Alley's criticism, Ava Duvernay, who is on the Board of Governors for the Academy as well as a previous Oscar nominee, commented on her tweet with a meme of Oscar-winner Denzel Washington slamming a door on a white male.
Another Twitter user called out the Fat Actress star and said, "Well cis, given your career (or lack there of) this won’t impact you."
According to the Academy, the new changes will be required in the Best Picture category beginning with the 96th Academy Awards, which will air in 2024.
“The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them. The Academy is committed to playing a vital role in helping make this a reality,” said Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a statement.
In terms of on-screen representation, films must have at least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors represent an underrepresented racial group, with at least 30 percent of all actors in minor roles from underrepresented groups.
As a way to push for more diversity and inclusion behind the cameras, creative leadership on films is encouraged to be made up of women, underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, members of the LGBTQ+ community or people with disabilities. Thirty percent of the film’s crew is encouraged to be made up of underrepresented communities, as well.
A new focus on including women, underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities in paid apprenticeships and internships will also make a film qualify for the Best Picture category.
The Academy will, in addition, focus on the representation of groups in the marketing, publicity and distribution of films, with hopes for higher inclusions of women, Latinx, Asian, Black and Indigenous people.
This is the latest change brought on by the Academy. In June, more than 800 artists were invited to join the Oscars voting group — 36 percent of whom were people of color while 45 percent were women.