January 17, 2015

Hollywood still white in 2015

Complementing the discussion of Selma's Oscar snub, a 2013 posting confirms that minorities are underrepresented in movies:

USC study: Minorities still under-represented in popular films

A study from USC's Annenberg School looks at 500 films from 2007-2012 and finds characters don't mirror the audiences.

By Rebecca Keegan
With this year's high-profile movies "The Butler," "42" and "12 Years a Slave" prominently featuring black actors, it may seem as though the multiplex is enjoying new levels of diversity. But popular films still under-represent minority characters and directors, and reflect certain biases in their portrayals, according to a study being released Wednesday by USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Researchers evaluated 500 top-grossing movies released at the U.S. box office between 2007 and 2012 and 20,000 speaking characters, finding patterns in the way different races, ethnicities and genders are depicted.

Hispanic women, the study found, are the demographic most likely to be shown nude or in sexy attire; black men are the group least likely to be portrayed in a committed relationship.

In 2012, the researchers found, 76.3% of all speaking characters in these movies were white; according to U.S. Census figures, 63% of the country is white, and according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America, 56% of movie ticket buyers are white.
The industry is super-aware of the problem, even if it hasn't done much about it.

Academy president responds to firestorm over Oscar’s lack of diversity

By Sandy CohenAll 20 of this year’s acting contenders are white and there are no women in the directing or writing categories. After the nominations were announced Thursday morning, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite started trending on Twitter.

The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition issued a statement Friday saying the nominations balloting “obviously reflects a lack of diversity in Oscar voters as well as in films generally.”

Yet Boone Isaacs insisted the academy is “committed to seeking out diversity of voice and opinion” and that outreach to women and artists of color is a major focus.

“In the last two years, we’ve made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members,” Boone Isaacs said. “And, personally, I would love to see and look forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories.”
Is the World Really Ready for Diversity in Major Film Franchises?

For more on casting issues, see Diverse TV Shows Get Higher Ratings and Director: Native Actors Lack "Charisma."

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