Oscars day! Thanks to the wonder of time-zones, as I’m writing this on 27th February, the 89th Annual Academy Awards are slowly gearing into action on 26th February, LA time….Magic
Since the presentations will probably be ticking along for the next five weeks or so, I thought I would take this time to draw your attention to a video from 2016. Unsurprisingly it seems to be doing the rounds during Awards season and like most TEDtalks, it’s worth a watch.
It’s interesting to see these figures as a white woman – knowing that I’m looking at the actual stats on my likelihood to get a role.
As a mid-20s Caucasian female, I knew that I was entering a flooded market when I started this career. Going to an audition can be like looking down one of those magic mirror hallways, seeing slightly altered versions of yourself stretching on to infinity. How many identical girls can they truly be considering for that one line of dialogue? Well, at least I’m one of the lucky ones being considered.
I know of a girl who was hunting for a new agent, only to be told ‘Sorry, we’ve already got an Asian girl on our books’ when she sent through her headshot. AN Asian girl.
Not too many- An. One.
I don’t think I’ve even ever shared a waiting room with someone of a different ethnicity – unless it’s specified by the writer, I guess when a producer sees ‘female’, they just think ‘white’. If I sometimes struggle with the uphill battle of distinguishing myself from every other girl to win the chance to be the girlfriend/ love interest/young mum (and it’s only ever those three) what must it be like to have to wait until the asian girlfriend/ the black love interest/ the trans young mum comes along? Our Western culture has become so diverse, but it seems that no-one has taken the time to tell the studios that.
I don’t have anything to add to the argument that hasn’t already said by wittier and far more educated people than me. I think all that I’m really asking today is that you do as Stacy Smith suggests. If you care about seeing the world you live in represented in the cinema, go out of your way to find it. Support those trail blazers fighting to get their stories told. Hell, celebrate the moment that Cobie Smulders can take her top off to get changed in the latest Jack Reacher without exposing heaving bosom and falling into bed with Tom Cruise, because she is a bad ass mother with a job to do, not a love interest to play. Celebrate the wins as if they are your own as we (hopefully) see the last of #OscarsSoWhite today. Go team!