Following the announcement of the Oscar’s nominees, several celebrities demonstrated their dissatisfaction because the of the lack of African Americans and because of the all white list. For that reason, several big stars, like Spike Lee and Will Smith, stated that they will not attend the event.
The Academy, after the negative repercussion, announced changes in order to diversify the racial diversity of its members.
Those who criticize the insurgence against the Oscars argue that there were few black actors with outstanding performances in 2015. One of the notable exceptions would be Idris Elba for his role in the Netflix picture “Beasts of no nation”. However, some speculate that Elba’s non nomination happened because of the dispute between Netflix and movie theaters.
The presence of only White actors among the nominees, at least, shows a problem in minorities representation (African Americans, Hispanics and Asians) in the movie industry. According to “The Economist”, curiously, Hispanics and Asians suffer even more that African Americans in Hollywood (numbers since 2000):
African Americans – 12.6% of the American population – 10% of Oscar’s nominees.
Hispanics – 16% of the American population – 3% of nominees;
Asiáticos – ~ 5% of the American population – 1% of nominees.
The article from “The Economist” argues that the issue might not be with the Academy per se, but in the lack of minority actors in top roles: “For most of the past 15 years, the Academy has largely judged what has been put in front of them: minority actors land 15% of top roles, 15% of nominations and 17% of wins”.
In relation to all speaking characters in Hollywood, an academic paper shows the following division in 2013: 74,1%, white; 14,1%, black; 4,9%, Hispanic, 4,4%, Asian, and 2,5% from other ethnicities.
Thus, that data give us a summary of that issue in the US. For Brazilians, after such reading, an interesting question arises: How is racial diversity in the Globo’s (the biggest Brazilian TV station) award for best soap opera’s actors of the year in a country that has more than 50% of its population constituted of black and mixed people?
Initially, important to say that, as in other elite professional fields, there is a low presence of black and mixed actors in Brazilian soap operas. According an article by the traditional “Folha de São Paulo” newspaper, blacks and mixed (50.7% of Brazil’s population) were only 15% the five new airing TV soap operas in 2015. If we consider that African Americans, Hispanics and Asians, approximatively 33% of American population, get 24.4% of movie’s roles, we can see that Brazil, proportionally, is way behind the United States in racial diversity among actors.
Does that situation improve among Globo’s awards for best actors of the year?
In the 20 editions of the awards, out of 40 winners (20 men and 20 women), only 3 (7.5%) were black or mixed: Taís Araújo, Camila Pitanga, and Lázaro Ramos. 7.5% from a group that corresponds to more than half of Brazil’s population…
It gets worse when we get to the nominees. Among the 96 contenders from that time period, only Juliana Paes gets added (she considers herself mixed), so only 4 out of 98, 4.16%. It should be repeated over and over again: 4.16% of a group that corresponds to more than half of Brazil’s population!
Therefore, if the is a racial problem in Hollywood, there is an even worse one in Brazil.