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Hollywood’s lack of female filmmakers working on big projects is well known and obvious, but a new study shows how the lack of diversity also dominates the industry. The University of California released a study of 2013’s hit movies and noted that just a quarter of the characters were from minority groups.
The study shows that just 25.9 percent of the 3,932 speaking roles in these films went to minorities. Seventy-four percent of the characters were White, with just 14.1 percent Black.
Even more distressing is the lack of representation for Latinos, the fastest-growing minority in the U.S. Despite that fact, Hollywood only had a handful of roles to give Latino actors. Just 4.9 percent of the characters were Latino.
The rest of the characters were 4.4 percent Asian, 1.1 percent Middle Eastern and less than 1 percent American Indian or Alaskan Native. The remaining 1.2 percent were from other ethnicities and races.
So, while the Academy Awards rushed to honor 12 Years A Slave, the fact is that it is a rarity in the Hollywood system. That film became the first Best Picture Oscar winner to be directed by a black man, British filmmaker Steve McQueen. Then, the Best Director Oscar went to Mexican helmer Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. In addition, we saw 12 Years A Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o win an Oscar for her supporting role. But again, these are exceptions to the rule. The awards may have been diverse, but they only make up a small fraction of what’s made in Hollywood.
Only seven of the top-grossing films in the U.S. last year were helmed by black directors.
“Sadly, I’m not surprised. This has been a constant for some time now,” actor Esai Morales told the Daily News. He suggested that the fear might be concern that moviegoers may think a movie lead by a Latino star would be in a foreign language. “It's a mindset that's very accepted in Hollywood. It's about categories that are easily identified.”
image courtesy of INFphoto.com