The Hollywood Reporter is getting some flack right now for not including a single, African-American actress on its famous “Actress Roundtable” issue. There were also no hispanic or Asian women featured. The most diversity on this cover was Sally Field, because she is over 50, and Marionne Cotillard, because she is French. This group of women made the cast of Girls look diverse.
This is especially shocking in a year that was great for black actresses. After all, this was the first time in 38 years we saw an African American woman play the lead character in a show (Kerry Washington in Scandal, who is also in the highly anticipated new Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained.) Or what about Mindy Kaling starring and creating her show The Mindy Project? How many East Asian women have we seen starring on shows?
Those are television and the cover features most film actresses but what about the highly lauded film Beasts of the Southern Wild which stars Quvenzhané Wallis. This African American woman is getting Oscar buzz. And Viola Davis or Halle Berry could have easily made it in as well.
Jorge Rivas pointed out that The Hollywood Reporter is known for usually covering the diversity issues in Hollywood and often highlights minority actresses like Sofia Vergara but they really missed the ball on this one. It is usually Vanity Fair that is criticized for not making their Hollywood issues diverse at all, for both men and women.
We know women in Hollywood face a lot of issues. In the roundtable Sally Field discussed what it is like to be an older woman in Hollywood and to have to fight for roles, as she did for Lincoln. But to not include one woman from a different race is just ridiculous.
Acting powerhouse Viola Davis has addressed the struggle of black actresses in particular in Hollywood. From a Feb.23, 2011 Salon article:
“Davis has talked openly, but without a hint of self-pity, about the difficulties of being a black actress in an industry that still relies heavily on caricature and stereotype, and even about being a dark-skinned black actress at a time when, as she recently put it, “Halle Berry is having a hard time.” After she brought this up, during a Newsweek panel discussion featuring various Oscar candidates, Charlize Theron jumped in to assure Davis she was “hot as shit,” which was a nice thing to say and all but (as many commentators have observed) massively misses the point. Win or lose at this year’s Oscars, Davis won’t get offered Theron’s wide-ranging dramatic roles, from serial killer to narcissistic sexpot, and won’t get the Vogue covers or Dior endorsement deals either. If it’s any consolation — and it probably is — Theron’s “Young Adult” was a dud, and she was not nominated this year.”
I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy reading and watching the discussion amongst these very talented actresses but I think Halle Berry, star of Cloud Atlas and the first Best Actress Oscar win for a black actress, could have weighed in on paparazzi and her children like Amy Adams. And Viola Davis isn’t as old as Sally Field but she isn’t a spring chicken. She could have talked about that as well. Having an minority actress there would have made that roundtable more interesting and more realistic.
H/t The Atlantic