Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 6th 2014 Contents A35
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A new study shows that less
than five per cent of actors in top
Hollywood films are Hispanic, and
that Latinas are more likely than
women of any other ethnicity to
appear partially or totally naked
The study of the top 100 grossing
films in 2013, by the University of
Southern California s Annenberg
school, found that the make-believe
world of movies generally does not
reflect what America looks like in
About 74 per cent of the actors
in the study were white, compared
with a US population that s 63 per
cent non-Hispanic white. Hispan-
ics, who are 17 per cent of the nation
but had 4.9 per cent of film roles,
were the most underrepresented
group on screen. That s despite the
fact that Hispanics bought about
25 per cent of all movie tickets and
are more likely than any other group
to go to the movies, according to
the Motion Picture Association of
Black characters represented
about 14 per cent of those in the
films, which is comparable to
America s 13 per cent black pop-
ulation. However, 17 per cent of the
films examined in the study did
not have a single black speaking
role, and half the films had a smaller
percentage than the population,
which indicates that a few movies
with predominantly black casts bal-
anced out the many movies with
few black actors.
Last year was called a banner
year for black actors, due to the
success of films such as Fruitvale
Station, Lee Daniels The Butler
and 12 Years a Slave, which made
Steve McQueen the first black win-
ner of the best-director Oscar.
Hispanic stars such as the
Dominican Zoe Saldana, the New
York-born Puerto Rican Jennifer
Lopez and the Spaniard Antonio
Banderas appeared on the big
screen. Yet there has been no sig-
nificant change since 2007 in the
number of non-white actors in top
films, said Stacy L Smith, director
of USC Annenberg s Media, Diver-
sity & Social Change Initiative and
author of the study being released
"The only obstacle here is imag-
ination," Smith said in an interview.
She said that the number of black
directors remained low---six per
cent of all directors in the study---
and they were much more likely to
use diverse casts. Hispanic directors
were not counted.
"What we re seeing in the aggre-
gate is very few folks not white and
male being able to participate
behind the camera," Smith said.
"So the (on-screen) landscape
remains primarily white and male.
When you do have diversity behind
the camera, things start to shift."
The study examined all 3,932
actors who spoke at least one word
in the top 100 films of 2013. USC
did similar counts in 2007-2010
Asians filled 4.4 per cent of roles
in 2013, compared with their 5.3
per cent of the US population. One
per cent of roles were played by
Middle Eastern actors, less than 1
per cent by Native Americans, and
one per cent by "other."
Almost 38 per cent of Latina
actresses appeared partially or fully
naked on screen, the study said.
That compared with 32 per cent
of white females, 24 per cent of
black females and 18 per cent of
"Latinas have this stereotype
that we re sex symbols...that we
walk sexy and (have) this flavour,"
said Roselyn Sanchez, a Puerto
Rican actress who has appeared
in such films as Act of Valor and
Rush Hour 2.
She had no explanation for why
Hispanics have so few movie roles.
"It s not about talent," she said.
About 17 per cent of Hispanic
males were shown in "tight, allur-
ing, or revealing clothing," the most
of any group. Some 14 per cent of
Asian males, 13 per cent of black
actors and eight per cent of white
actors were shown in similar attire.
Black males were more likely
than those from any other group
to be shown in a committed rela-
tionship, at 68 per cent. Asian
males were the least likely, at 29
Blanca Valdez, who runs a His-
panic casting agency in Los Ange-
les, said it s difficult for Latinos to
audition for roles unless the call
specifically asks for "diversity" or
"multiethnic." That often keeps
them out secondary roles such as
the neighbour, the lawyer, or the
She said some actors with His-
panic surnames who look white
will only put their first name on
their casting photographs, just to
get a foot in the door.
But Valdez said things have been
changing rapidly in commercials
and television, with more calls than
ever for Hispanic and "multieth-
nic" actors. She hopes that studios
will "follow the money" since Lati-
nos are such big movie fans.
"I hope this improvement con-
tinues," Valdez said, "because
there s so much talent out there
that doesn t get seen." (AP)
Antonio Banderas in a scene from Machete Kills.
This undated publicity film image released by Paramount Pictures shows Zoe
Saldana, left, as Uhura and Zachary Quinto as Spock in a scene in the movie, Star
Trek Into Darkness. AP PHOTOS
The New York-born Puerto Rican Jennifer Lopez
appears on the big screen, yet there has been no
significant change since 2007 in the number of non-
white actors in top films.
Few roles for Hispanics
in top Hollywood movies
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