COMPANY TOWN … CAN’T WAIT FOR THOSE OSCAR SPEECHES--"As we prepared for this cover, we discovered precisely zero actresses of color in the Oscar conversation... That was appalling."
From Ava DuVernay to Salma Hayek to Michelle Yeoh, there's no shortage of talented women of color in Hollywood -- which is why the latest cover of The Hollywood Reporter is sticking out like a sore thumb.
The lack of diversity was so obvious, the magazine couldn't help but address it with an essay titled "Why Every Actress on The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable Cover Is White."
Each year the magazine picks actresses from the big and small screen who are likely to be contenders for shiny statues come awards season.
While praising the eight critically-acclaimed women chosen for this year's roundtable, THR Executive Editor Stephen Galloway noted that "even for me, a white man, it was impossible to ignore the fact that every one of these women was white"
"That was appalling," Galloway said, before laying out "the awful truth":
"[T]here are no minority actresses in genuine contention for an Oscar this year."
Galloway owned up a little bit to being part of the problem, voicing his regret for passing over "Straight Outta Compton" director F. Gary Gray for the THR directors roundtable, but laid most of the blame on the industry at large.
"The Academy drew flak for failing to nominate Selma in many categories; but the Academy doesn’t make films, any more than The Hollywood Reporter does; it recognizes work that the industry creates."
Galloway later spoke with The Huffington Post by phone and said he was surprised by the buzz around his essay, and that he was compelled to write it because he feels passionately about the issue of diversity and representation in Hollywood.
"The problem is not just who is being cast, it’s what movies are being made," Galloway told HuffPost. "If I knew the column would have gotten this response, I would have added the statistics: I would have gone to each studio and said ‘How many people of color are in your executive suites? How many people are on your development team?'"
Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner Viola Davis addressed the issue in her acceptance speech in September when she said, "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You can not win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there."
Janice Min, Chief Creative Officer for THR's parent group tried calling attention to previous covers that were slightly more representative (at least of black actors, though they drew more than once from the Viola Davis-Octavia Spencer well).
After last year's very white Oscars were the least diverse since 1998, this year's batch of contenders isn't shaping up to be much more representative.
When it comes to celebrating the wide range of diversity and talent in film, Hollywood still has a long way to go.
(Kim Bellware is the Associate Chicago Editor for The Huffington Post [[ huffingtonpost.com]] … where this piece was first posted.)
Vol 13 Issue 94
Pub: Nov 20, 2014