The upcoming Oscar nominations could reward people of color more than in any previous year, what with movies like Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and Lee Daniels’ The Butler gaining serious awards season buzz.
That doesn’t tell the full story of Hollywood’s diversity problem.
A few weeks of feel-good inclusion can’t alter the more troubling fact that opportunities for people of color remain scarce and that, for all of the Academy Award interest these directors and actors are receiving, Hollywood ultimately will judge their value using the only yardstick it believes matters: box-office performance….
Several other prominent black filmmakers say that change within show business remains glacial. Even if Hollywood likes to present itself as magnanimous and liberal, its hiring decisions — including jobs handed to women — continue to be demographically constricted, with most work still going to white men.
Roger Ross Williams, who became the first black director to win an Oscar in 2010 for the short film Music by Prudence, says he “feels like an interloper when he’s in a room with fellow Oscar voters.”
I don’t see a lot of people who look like me, and that’s unfortunate,” Williams said. “I do applaud the academy for trying to change things. They really are making an effort. But the real world is still much more diverse than Hollywood. And I think it’s because of opportunity — there are not of lot of opportunities for African Americans to enter the field.
The problem isn’t relegated to the film industry, according to the LA Times.
The Directors Guild of America recently found that 73% of all primetime TV episodes were made by Caucasian males, and the Screen Actors Guild concluded that 76% of all leading roles in television and film were given to Caucasians.