Kirstie Alley is coming out against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' new representation and inclusion standards for Best Picture eligibility. The actress called the new requirements "a disgrace to artists everywhere" on Twitter Tuesday, claiming that artists' freedoms were being impinged upon.
"This is a disgrace to artists everywhere...can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his f—ing paintings," she tweeted. "You people have lost your minds. Control artists, control individual thought .. OSCAR ORWELL." Ava DuVernay, the award-winning director of acclaimed projects such as Selma and 13th, made her feelings clear about Alley's statement, simply tweeting back a GIF of Denzel Washington shutting the door on someone. Alley then defended her statement, saying she had "fought for human & civil rights for 50 years."
🤣But I ask you to explore my record of diversity & inclusion in anything I’ve produced & throughout my life. I’m not perfect but have fought for human & civil rights for 50 years. I just don’t agree w mandated, impossible to “police” quotas as a prerequisite 4 a “best” picture🤷♀️ https://t.co/PZy4QMZcEu— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) September 9, 2020
Alley's post came after the Academy revealed new standards for the Best Picture category designed to encourage diversity in the main award as part of its Academy Aperture 2025 initiative. To meet the onscreen representation standard, at least one of the lead actors or a major supporting actor must be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, or thirty percent of all actors in secondary and minor roles could be from two of the following categories: women, LGBTQ, an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, or those with cognitive or physical disabilities. The main storyline can also focus on an underrepresented group to qualify.
Other standards off-screen include employing women or people of color, offering paid apprenticeships and training opportunities to people in underrepresented groups, or hiring senior executives from those groups at either the studio or the company marketing and distributing the movie. The inclusion requirements will take full effect for the 96th Oscars 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’s president, David Rubin, and chief executive, Dawn Hudson, said in a statement, adding that the new standards will "be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”