LOS ANGELES (AP) – This year’s Academy Awards has many in the Hollywood community outraged. For the second year in a row, not a single acting nominee is a person of color. And not a single film telling the story of a person of color is nominated for Best Picture.
In light of the 2016 Oscars lack of diversity issues, even sparking a viral hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, a recent study by UCLA begs the question that more needs to change — if for no other reason than the money to be made or lost.
The study has found that films and television shows whose casts roughly reflect the nation's racial and ethnic diversity, result in the highest box office and ratings numbers, on average.
Based on films distributed in 2014:
— Foreign audiences rule: Total box office for the U.S. and Canada dropped 5 percent to $10.9 billion, but globally, sales increased 1 percent to $36.4 billion.
— Minorities bought 46 percent of all movie tickets in the U.S. despite representing only 38 percent of the population. A fourth of the people who see at least once movie every month are Latinos, who represent 18 percent of the U.S. population.
— The highest return on investment – 3.4 times the films' budget – was delivered by movies with four non-white actors in the top eight roles.
— Films with non-white actors in lead roles declined again, to 13 percent, from 17 percent in 2013, even though non-whites accounted for 38 percent of the U.S. population.
— On television, white actors had 80 percent of the scripted roles broadcast during the 2013-2014 season. Blacks had 9 percent, Latinos 5 percent and Asians 4 percent.
— Males had 59 percent of scripted roles on broadcast television, and 59 percent of those on cable TV.
— At talent agencies – Hollywood's gatekeepers – 88 percent of the executives, 91 percent of the agents and 97 percent of the profit-sharing partners were white. Women represented 41 percent of the executives, 32 percent of the agents and 29 percent of the partners.