Despite ever-louder complaints about Hollywood being an almost exclusively white boys club, there’s not much to suggest successful campaigns like #OscarSoWhite and #52FilmsByWomen are having much of an effect on the film industry’s current ecosystem. At least that’s the conclusion one might be tempted to draw from the recent study published by the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Titled “Inequality in 900 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race/Ethnicity, LGBT, and Disability,” the numbers shared suggest what we’ve long been told: women and minorities are still underrepresented both in front and behind the camera. Out of the 100 top films of 2016, for example, a total of 14 movies had leads or co-leads played by 16 actors from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. And, spoiler alert, once you break down the numbers even more, Latinos as a whole continue to be mostly absent from mainstream fare.
Speaking to these findings Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition and Secretariat of the National Latino Media Council, echoed what many industry insiders have been voicing for several years (if not decades!) now: “We are outraged that as our country is growing richer in diversity, Hollywood has made little progress in film or television in bringing the people who look like their audience to the big and small screens. Latinos are the most grossly underrepresented groups in both film and TV, at a time when we are the biggest moviegoers in the country and among the most loyal television fans. We deserve and demand to see our faces and hear our stories on-screen.”
— MDSC Initiative (@MDSCInitiative) July 31, 2017
Sadly, change will not come suddenly. With blockbusters and Hollywood tentpole flicks being greenlit and cast years ahead of their release dates, we likely have not seen the full impact of our national conversation surrounding “diversity” and won’t for years to come. Nevertheless, if you really want to delve deep into the topic, take a close look at the USC report with the statistics we’ve culled for you below.