Imagine the domestic and international reaction if the Hungarian National Film Institute were to determine which ethnic group the protagonist of a film should come from, what percentage of the actors should belong to certain so-called neglected groups, such as LGBTQ+, people with disabilities or minorities, or how many creative contributors should be non-White.
I can already see the proceedings launched by the European Union against Hungary, the visceral outrage in Hungarian cultural circles, the human chain of protesters forming around the filmmakers’ headquarters, and the huge protests of leading Hungarian opinion leaders over new rules reminiscent of the worst periods in history.
They think differently in Hollywood, and they also act on those thoughts.
On Sept. 8, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the supreme body in the Hollywood world, which also owns the Oscars, introduced new rules that incorporate exactly the above principles. The Film Academy has defined four categories for filmmakers who want to aspire to the Oscar in the Best Film category.
Any movie nominated for the award must meet two of the four criteria in order to enter the competition at all. Compliance would be verified by completing the “confidential questionnaire” previously submitted.
The first category is the ethnicity of the people and themes seen in the film, emphasizing minority groups and topics. The second point requires that the artists and technicians who make the film be quantified among the groups mentioned under the first point.
The third requirement applies not only to film producers but also to distributing and financing companies, which must subsidize minority roles in the film. The fourth point concerns the ethnic composition of studio management. Several senior leaders should belong to so-called “neglected minorities”. Any submitted film must meet two of the above four requirements.
Hollywood has always been more diverse and more colorful than the United States itself. Initially, the founders of the large studios were Eastern European Jewish refugees, dominated by Hungarian, German, and other European directors, employing large numbers of immigrants and second-generation Americans. They also made society as a whole accept Black and other minority actors.
There are many people in Hollywood today with different skin color, gay people, and people from other cultures. The National Basketball Association and the U.S. Olympic team, however, have never been subject to criticism for having far more successful black athletes than their percentage of the total population would justify. They are there because they are better, faster and work harder for success.
So, no one would think the National Basketball Association should set up a quota to help white basketball players. The idea itself seems crazy. And it certainly is.
In the United States, so-called “positive discrimination” has been used in the past in places where those in power found it necessary because of past discrimination. Several American universities, including my alma mater, are ensuring, along with a certain quota, that an “adequate number” of student minorities can enter the university system. The procedure is not very popular.
In California, for example, voters have forced public universities to abolish quotas. Even after the measure, there are still a wide variety of races studying at our universities, highlighting the unnecessary need for quotas.
The United States has always been the home of great opportunities, featuring outstanding talents, artists, and athletes who were able to stand out and able to achieve greatness, not only for the benefit of America, but for the benefit of the entire world.
A system that selects contributors based on gender, race, sexuality, and other irrelevant data does not reward excellence but instead cripples many people, and is ultimately doomed to death because Darwinian selection cannot be mocked with empty voices.