THR’s White Girl cover shows us just how far movies haven’t come

The latest issue of the Hollywood Reporter has a bunch of white women on the cover. Yes, I know that white women dominating the cover of a major entertainment magazine is hardly news, except that these are the women that THR has dubbed the leading contenders for an Oscar this year. Think about it, a leading trade publication has declared that there are no WOC  in contention for the leading award in movies.

No, this is not a Downton Abbey  cast photo
No, this is not a Downton Abbey cast photo

Even the magazine isn’t happy about their cover. According to the mea culpa issued by the magazine’s editor:

In doing all that this year, as we prepared for this cover, we discovered precisely zero actresses of color in the Oscar conversation — at least in the weeks in early September when the Roundtables are put together, months before the nominations are announced Jan. 14.

So, who is to blame for the pathetic state of affairs?

Both Spike Lee and motion picture Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs addressed the issue of diversity at Saturday’s Governors Awards, a precursor to the Oscars, where the former noted: “When I go to [film studio] offices, I don’t see black faces except the security guard who signs me in. … This industry is so far behind sports it’s ridiculous.” He added that it was easier to become a black president than a black studio chief.

He also pointed out that Taraji P Henson and Viola Davis, past THR cover women, had found stardom in TV when they couldn’t in movies. He also issued a very mild apology for not doing more himself:

Nor do I hold myself and my colleagues free of blame. Yes, THR has spent time and money launching a mentoring program for underserved girls that is now about to enter its seventh year. But that’s not enough.

On our most recent Director Roundtable, forced to choose among three superb filmmakers for one slot, I opted for Ridley Scott rather than Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray, an African-American. The Martian had opened to exceptional acclaim and box office, and Scott looked like the front-runner for the Oscar. Still, I now wish I had added Gray to the mix, and regret that I ignored both his lawyer’s and his agents’ pleas to do so. At least I can take comfort in having three men of color on our upcoming Actor Roundtable.

Oh yeah, that makes it OK then. Notice that while he acknowledges he can do more, he does not mention what steps he as a journalist and editor of one of the leading trade publications is going to do to make it better. This is why we can’t have nice things, for the all the hand wringing there has been lately about the lack of diversity in movies, no one is doing anything.

You can read the entire sniveling, um, er, apology here.

Look TV is getting better:

Broadway is getting better:

Comics are even making strides:

but movies be like:


If TV, Broadway, and comics can do it, why can’t movies? There really is no reason other than the fact that they don’t want to.

What we can do as the audience is support movies with diverse casts and keep the pressure on the studio executives until they get it. The conversation is happening as evidenced by THR’s sorta apology above, we have to keep it up until conversation becomes action.



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