The SAG Awards helped Hollywood feel good about themselves as they celebrated a diverse array of actors. But all of this attention on awards shows kills me because when an award show does give awards to a diverse group of actors, they’re really kind of celebrating something that doesn’t exist. The issue in Hollywood is that the films that are being made aren’t diverse. In fact, many of the people who denounced #OscarSoWhite weren’t really putting their money where their hashtags were. George Clooney spoke out against it, but his filmography is mostly whiter than a snowstorm.
So, to keep an eye on things so people don’t get all stunned again when most of the Oscar nominees are white again, here’s Diversity Watch for February 2016.
Below are the wide release movies (according to BoxOfficeMojo.com) for the next 29 days.
Nicholas Sparks. I don’t want to say that “Enough Said” but, I mean…
Hail Caesar: The Coen Brothers latest features a lot of famous white people trying to save another famous white person (but it’s not Matt Damon this time, so there’s that.)
Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies: We’ll probably have to wait for Malcolm X vs. Monsters or Roots with Zombies or Charlie Chan vs. Chupacabra to get some non-white people in one of these mashup films. But, on the plus side, this one features strong women fending for themselves!
Deadpool: Morena Baccarin is Brazilian! And she plays the love interest. Named Vanessa Carlyle. OK, so she’s playing a white girl but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s Brazilian! We’ll count it as diversity!
How to Be Single: White girl problems. But with Damon Wayans Jr. and Jason Mantzoukas along for the ride. Mantzoukas is Greek, which might not count to many as “diverse” but c’mon, we need as many points as we can get here.
Zoolander 2: Penelope Cruz! And mostly a bunch of white people, sure, but who can notice any lack of diversity when Penelope Cruz is on screen!
Race: Boom! A bonafide non-white movie! The story of Jesse Owens. Directed by a Jamaican! Granted, a white Jamaican guy but kudos to Hollywood for finding a white Jamaican, right?
Eddie the Eagle: This and “Race” kind of say it all about Hollywood. For a black guy to get a movie, he has to win four gold medals in the face of the most evil dictator we’ve known and be one of the greatest athletes of all-time. Meanwhile, a white guy comes in last in two ski jump events at Olympics, becomes lovable loser to many because he’s so bad, and about 30 years later, someone makes a movie about him.
Risen: The director of Waterworld is bringing you the story of the Resurrection and I have to give him credit – he’s got actors from all over the place in this one. Including one man diversity gang Cliff Curtis!
The Witch: Indie movies are quietly an equal opportunity offender when it comes to diversity and indie horror seems to be one of the bigger culprits of the indie world. A funny sketch might be explaining that the reason black guys always die first in movies is because the ghosts get jealous that the white people are more afraid of the guy than then ghost. There’s something there. I think. Anyway, The Witch is a period piece which usually equates to mostly white people.
Triple Nine: This movie had a ridiculous cast and thankfully, it’s got a decent mix to it with: Casey Affleck, Clifton Collins, Jr., Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Teresa Palmer, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Michael K. Williams (OMAR!), and Kate Winslet. (This might be my Must Watch movie of the month although I’d say to avoid the trailer since it seems to give away a lot of the movie. But it’s about cops who are forced to pull off a heist.)
But then there’s…
Gods of Egypt: Starring… Gerard Butler? Geoffrey Rush? Nikolaj Coster-Waldau aka Jamie Lannister? They at least got Chadwick Boseman in there but this one really wipes out any points Hollywood might have garnered this month. Especially coming off of the heels of Exodus: Gods and Kings with Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale.
And in case you weren’t scoring at home, I believe that’s 12 wide releases and 12 white directors. On the plus side, we’ve got four films featuring females as leads so there’s some progress on that front, I guess.
March and April look a little better diversity-wise but next time someone complains about #OscarSoWhite, remind them that that is just a symptom of the diversity problem facing Hollywood.