Kirstie Alley Calls Oscars' New Diversity Standards "Dictatorial" and a "Disgrace"

Kirstie Alley has made it clear she is not a fan of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' newly announced eligibility requirements for Best Picture contenders.

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 09, 2020 3:33 PMTags

Kirstie Alley is not mincing words when it comes to her thoughts on the Oscars' newest requirements.

After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced new representation and inclusion standards for future Best Picture eligibility, the actress took to Twitter on Tuesday, Sept. 8 to sound off on the news. 

"This is a disgrace to artists everywhere," she wrote in a since-deleted tweet. "Can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his f**king paintings...You people have lost your minds. Control artists, control individual thought .. OSCAR ORWELL."

The Cheers alum slammed the requirements as "dictatorial" and "anti-artist" as she continued sharing her unfiltered opinion. "I've been in the motion picture Academy for 40 years. The Academy celebrates freedom of UNBRIDLED artistry expressed through movies," she tweeted. "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--."

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The actress defended herself in response to Ava DuVernay, who tweeted a GIF to Alley of Denzel Washington closing a door on someone.

"But I ask you to explore my record of diversity & inclusion in anything I've produced & throughout my life," Alley told her. "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."

She also offered her own suggestion for improving diversity and inclusion. "Diversity and inclusion should be taught," she suggested, "taught so well and so naturally and genuinely that it becomes second nature to our children."

Later, Alley returned to Twitter to clarify why she deleted her tweet referencing Pablo Picasso

"I deleted my first tweet about the new rules for best movie OSCARS because I feel it was a poor analogy & misrepresented my viewpoint," she explained. "I am 100% behind diversity inclusion & tolerance. I'm opposed to MANDATED ARBITRARY percentages relating to hiring human beings in any business."

The standards announced on Sept. 8 for eligibility in the Best Picture category are to begin in 2024. The requirements cover four areas—on-screen representation, themes, and narratives; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development—and each film must meet the criteria set for two of the four standards categories. 

Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a joint statement, "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. We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry."