James Woods: Oscars’ New ‘Unconscious Bias Training’ Mandates are ‘Thought Police Initiatives’

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Actor James Woods


“This is not parody. Thought Police initiatives are now required of Academy leaders. #Orwell,” Actor James Woods – a two-time Oscar nominee – tweeted Friday, responding to the Motion Picture Academy’s announcement it is creating a task force to set “representation and inclusion standards” for films to be eligible for Oscar nomination.

In the Academy’s online announcement, Academy President David Rubin vows to “hold ourselves and our community accountable” using the new standards for Oscar eligibility:

“We must listen, learn, embrace the challenge, and hold ourselves and our community accountable,” Rubin said. “Academy leadership and our Board are committed to ensuring that we continue to weave equity and inclusion into the fabric of every Academy initiative, committee, program and event.”

In its new rules, the Academy instituted mandatory “unconscious bias training” for all its members:

“This past January, the current Board of Governors participated in unconscious bias training. Moving forward, this training will be mandatory for all Academy governors, branch executive committee members and Academy staff on an annual basis.”


But, the new rule that drew Woods’ ire was the news that the Academy will begin “tying Oscar eligibility to representation and inclusion standards, starting with the 94th Academy Awards, the one that will celebrate the films of 2021.”

Rubin will appoint the task force members, charging them “to ensure more diverse representation,” the announcement says:

“The Academy will encourage equitable hiring practices and representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the film community. To ensure more diverse representation, and in collaboration with the Producers Guild of America (PGA), the Academy will create a task force of industry leaders, appointed by David Rubin and that will include governor and A2020 Committee chair DeVon Franklin, to develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility by July 31, 2020.”

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