There Are No Actors of Color on This Magazine Cover for One Reason

November 18th 2015

Laura Donovan

The Hollywood Reporter only put white women on the cover of its annual actress roundtable magazine cover to make an attempted point to highlight the lack of diversity during Oscar season and entertainment at large. The eight actresses on the cover are expected to receive 2016 Oscar nominations. Instead, the cover is receiving serious backlash.

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"[As The Hollywood Reporter] prepared for this cover, we discovered precisely ZERO actresses of color in the Oscar conversation — at least in the weeks starting early September when the roundtables are put together, weeks before they take place and months before the nominations are announced January 14," wrote Stephen Galloway, the publication's executive editor of features."

Galloway added that he wasn't trying to downplay the talents of the women who are anticipating Academy Award nominations, but instead expose more about the harsh reality of racism in film:

"[E]ven for me, a white man, it was impossible to ignore the fact that every one of these women was white — whether old or young, English, Australian or American. That was appalling. The awful truth is that there are no minority actresses in genuine contention for an Oscar this year. Straight Outta Compton, which has provided some great roles for African-American men (and whose success addsproof that studios ignore minority audiences at their peril) had no women leads. Furious 7? Not quite Oscar bait."

Though the cover was meant to illustrate the lack of diversity in Oscar discussion, many didn't take kindly to the magazine's intention.

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As Jezebel pointed out in 2014, the Hollywood Reporter included only white women on its annual actress roundtable cover last year as well. Jezebel's Kara Brown in 2014

"Noticeably absent is any sympathy for the problems faced by non-white Academy Award nominees. [Patricia] Arquette mentions her sister, who is transgender, although not really in the context of Hollywood, but there is no mention of the fact that women of color have a significantly more difficult battle than their white peers. The only non-white woman even mentioned in the entire interview is Beyoncé, who Reese Witherspoon names when asked if there is a contemporary woman she would like to play onscreen. I get that it was a joke but still, not at all respectably, I say: Shut up, Reese Witherspoon. One of Hollywood's favorite things to do is to cast a white person to play a person of color and you can bet the farm that if they could figure out a way to have a white woman play Beyoncé, they would."

According to Jezebel, Halle Berry remains the only non-white woman to win the Best Actress Oscar.

Earlier this year, ATTN: contributor Ashley Nicole Black pointed out that the Academy attempted to gain a more diverse viewership by running commercials on BET (Black Entertainment Television) and "Black" shows. Black added that she saw an ad revealing there would be Black presenters at the ceremony while watching Shonda Rhimes' "Scandal."

"Um, The Academy should probably actually watch 'Scandal,'" Black wrote, "[b]ecause [main character] Olivia Pope would tell them that it's gonna look a little awkward to have all black people give awards to white people all night. And that still won't 'handle' their problem of not having nominated more people of color."

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Two months ago, "How to Get Away With Murder" star Viola Davis noted the struggles of actresses of color during her Emmy acceptance speech. As the recipient of that award, Davis became the first Black woman to ever win an Emmy for best actress in a drama series.

"You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply aren't there," she said. "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity."


Viola Davis' remarks about diversity in Hollywood are worth your applause. #Emmys2015

Posted by ATTN: on Sunday, September 20, 2015

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