Actress Kirstie Alley raged at the Oscars' 'dictatorial' new diversity rules last night - claiming they were akin to 'telling Picasso what had to be in his f***ing paintings'.
The Academy Awards shake-up means films hoping to win Best Picture will have to hire more black, female, LGBT or disabled cast and crew or address themes that affect those communities.
Academy chiefs say the rules are intended to 'better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience', but critics accused 'Woke Hollywood' bosses of turning the Oscars into a 'weapon against anyone who disagreed with their politics'.
Oscar nominee James Woods said the new eligibility rules were 'madness', while Cheers star Alley called them a 'disgrace to artists everywhere'.
The move comes after months of race protests in the US and years of pressure from activists who have called for a boycott of the glitzy event.
Cheers actress Kirstie Alley (pictured) raged at the 'dictatorial' new Oscars rules which will require films to meet diversity targets to be eligible for Best Picture
Kirstie Alley said the new rules were 'dictatorial' and 'anti-artist', accusing Hollywood of 'swinging so far left you're bumping into your own a**'
Diversity: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a sweeping new diversity measures that holds film productions and studios accountable for promoting inclusion
To be eligible for Best Picture, films must meet any TWO of the following FOUR criteria.
1. ON-SCREEN REPRESENTATION
This standard can be met by fulfilling any ONE of these:
- Lead actor or significant supporting actor from an ethnic minority group
- At least 30 per cent of smaller roles are played by women, LGBT people, disabled people or ethnic minorities
- The main storyline is centered on an under-represented group
2. CREATIVE LEADERSHIP
This standard can be met by fulfilling any ONE of these:
- At least two senior creative posts, such as casting director, make-up artist or producer, are from an under-represented group including women
- At least six smaller roles in the crew are filled by ethnic minorities
- At least 30 per cent of the film's total crew is from an under-represented group
3. INDUSTRY ACCESS
This standard can be met by fulfilling BOTH of these:
- Studios and distributors must have paid interns or apprentices who are women or come from minority groups
- Training opportunities must be offered to under-represented groups in production, distribution and financing
4. AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT
This standard can be met by fulfilling this ONE requirement:
- Multiple senior executives in publicity, marketing and distribution are women or minority groups
Awards other than Best Picture will continue with their previous eligibility requirements.
The rules will take effect from the 96th Academy Awards in 2025.
Writing on Twitter on Tuesday night, Kirstie Alley said: '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 a**.'
She added: 'This is a disgrace to artists everywhere...can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his f***ing paintings.
'You people have lost your minds... Control artists,control individual thought... OSCAR ORWELL.'
Fellow actor Nick Searcy said: 'The Oscars used to be, just like the movies, something we all shared.
Film blogger Sasha Stone said: 'If the Academy inclusion mandate makes marginalized people feel they have a better chance getting employed I think that's a success.
'But I don't like that productions will be disqualified if they don't meet the demands. Just not the purpose of the Oscars.'
Adam Liaw, a TV presenter, described the new rules as 'arbitrary if well-meaning requirements' which were 'not a complete or well-considered solution' without addressing the lack of diversity in the Academy itself.
Comedian Tim Young said: 'So minority filmmakers will be left wondering if their movie was actually good or the Academy simply had a box to check. Either way, I will continue to not watch.'
However, others said the 'representation and inclusion requirements' - which only apply to the Best Picture award - were not too demanding for Oscar hopefuls.
Movie producer Franklin Leonard suggested that 'probably somewhere between 95-100 per cent of films that would have even been considered for an Oscar have nothing to worry about'.
Those that do could 'solve that problem with a comparatively extremely low resource expenditure' to boost diversity, he said.
Awards season columnist Kyle Buchanan said that many movies might 'sail through' the tests because of female representation in costume design, hair and make-up and advertising roles, meaning that the on-screen rules would have little effect.
Films only have to meet two of the four criteria designed to improve hiring practices on and off screen.
'Here's the thing... almost every film would still be nominated under the new guidelines,' Buchanan said.
Film writer Josh Spiegel said: 'Maybe the problem with the Oscar eligibility rules is that the bar seems to be set at ground level?'.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
The initiatives will go into effect with films released in the year 2024, which will be recognized at the 96th Oscars in 2025.
Films contending for the best picture Oscar in 2022 and 2023 will not be bound by the rules, but will need to submit to the Academy confidential data on the movies' diversity based on the new criteria.
Oscar nominee James Woods (pictured) described the new Academy Award eligibility rules as 'madness' after they were announced on Tuesday
Inclusion: Films vying for Best Picture in 2022 and 2023 will be required to fill out a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form, though meeting inclusion thresholds will not be required for Best Picture eligibility until 2024
Guidelines: The guidelines were developed by