Kirstie Alley is mad about the Oscars’ new diversity requirements for some reason
And the Oscar for saltiest reaction to the film academy’s new diversity and inclusion requirements goes to ... Kirstie Alley.
The actress unleashed an angry rant Tuesday on Twitter after the academy announced updated standards for best-picture nominees intended to create more opportunities in Hollywood for marginalized groups. Alley has since deleted her original tweet, which called the new guidelines “a disgrace to artists everywhere.”
"[C]an you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his ... paintings,” Alley wrote in the tweet, which has been immortalized in screenshots. “You people have lost your minds. Control artists, control individual thought .. OSCAR ORWELL.”
Starting in 2024, movies will need to meet specific inclusion standards in order to be eligible for the best picture Oscar.
Following a swift backlash, Alley removed and elaborated on her remarks, which she deemed “a poor analogy” that “misrepresented my viewpoint.” The Emmy winner added that she is “100% behind diversity inclusion & tolerance” but “opposed to MANDATED ARBITRARY percentages relating to hiring human beings in any business.”
“I’ve been in the motion picture Academy for 40 years,” Alley continued in subsequent tweets. “The Academy celebrates freedom of UNBRIDLED artistry expressed through movies. The new RULES to qualify for ‘best picture’ are dictatorial .. anti-artist..Hollywood you’re swinging so far left you’re bumping into your own ass.”
At one point, she requested that Ava DuVernay “explore my record of diversity & inclusion in anything I’ve produced & throughout my life,” after the trailblazing director responded to Alley’s complaints with a gif of Denzel Washington slamming a door.
“I’m not perfect but have fought for human & civil rights for 50 years,” Alley continued. “I just don’t agree w mandated, impossible to ‘police’ quotas as a prerequisite 4 a ‘best’ picture. ...
“I don’t feel a desperate need to defend myself, but sometimes it’s important to go on record with your own history. Especially since people aren’t aware of our track records. Understanding is my goal. Understanding leads to change.”
On Tuesday, the film academy unveiled the new requirements, which state that a film must meet at least two criteria across four categories inclusive of women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities in order to be eligible for best picture. And unlike Alley, several Hollywood figures hailed the initiative as the beginning of a more representative industry.
“This is another step forward toward equity and inclusion, but we are far from there,” tweeted activist April Reign, who launched the groundbreaking #OscarsSoWhite campaign that inspired deeper conversations about representation in 2015. “I appreciate all of you who have discussed this issue or used the hashtag. This is progress for marginalized communities, championed by marginalized communities. We win together.
“As I’ve long said, the real change still has to start on the page, and with the studios who greenlight those films. The goal is to ensure more inclusive films get made that are told by/with/for traditionally underrepresented communities; the awards come much later.”
Many also voiced concerns about the ease with which filmmakers might be able to meet — and potentially duck — the criteria without making a serious effort to diversify their projects.
“This is certainly progress but unless it’s one of every category required it still won’t be enough,” tweeted “Good Trouble” writer Ashly Perez. “There are loopholes galore. However I do hope this will at least make studios start thinking about whose stories they tell and why.”
The academy’s diversity and inclusion requirements for best picture will go into effect in 2024.
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.