Whether you’ll be watching Chris Rock host the Oscars on Sunday, protesting outside with the Rev. Al Sharpton or boycotting with Jada Pinkett Smith, you’re going to need the latest news on diversity in Hollywood.
“The film industry still functions as a straight, White, boy’s club,” according to a new report from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. And it’s not just about movies. Across films and TV, women and girls made up one-third of all speaking characters, the report found. People of color represented 28.3 percent of the characters, and 2 percent were identified as gay or lesbian.
“Our findings show that an epidemic of invisibility runs throughout popular storytelling,” the report said.
The New York Times put together a thought-provoking collection of interviews about “What It’s Really Like to Work in Hollywood* (*If you’re not a straight white man.)” Actor Wendell Pierce, who played Detective Bunk Moreland on “The Wire,” remembered the time a casting director told him, “I couldn’t put you in a Shakespeare movie, because they didn’t have black people then.” Actress America Ferrera talks about the time a former manager said, “Somebody should tell that girl that she has an unrealistic idea of what she can accomplish in this industry.”
A USA Today analysis found that you can keep using that #OscarsSoWhite hashtag well into next year, too. Reporters looked at 184 movies to be released this year and found “fewer opportunities for female or minority directors and black, Hispanic or Asian performers to earn Oscar nominations, let alone win one.” They even graded the studios (Paramount Pictures got an F, while Sony Pictures and three others got the highest mark, a B). Not all the studios were amused. The CEO of Open Road Films, which earned a D-, called the methodology “deeply flawed and irresponsible.”
And it’s been getting worse, according to the 2016 Hollywood Diversity Report from UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. Minorities made up 12.9 percent of the lead movie roles in 2014, down from 16.7 percent in 2013. Women, meanwhile, “continue to tread water,” making up about a quarter of the lead roles and fell from 6.3 percent of directors in 2013 to 4.3 percent in 2014. Women and minorities “remained underrepresented on every industry employment front,” the report said.
Wash down all the numbers with some easy reading from Us Weekly. The magazine has a rundown of where the stars fall on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, from actor Jamie Foxx (“I was sitting at home with my Oscar, like ‘What’s all the hubbub?’ ”) to Ice Cube (“You can’t boycott something that you never went to anyway.”) to director Spike Lee (“We Can’t Act?! WTF!!”).