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Here's why this magazine cover featuring eight white actresses has people talking

“Blinded by the white.”

EARLIER TODAY, THE Hollywood Reporter released a cover to coincide with its annual Actress Roundtable.

As part of the roundtable, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Winslet, Brie Larson, Helen Mirren, Charlotte Rampling, Cate Blanchett, Carey Mulligan and Jane Fonda discussed everything from the gender pay gap to sex scenes.

The cover has attracted criticism, however, for failing to feature a single actress of colour.

In an open letter, The Hollywood Reporter attempted to explain why every actress on the cover is white. The magazine attributed it to the fact that no actresses of colour are in Oscar contention this year.

… as we prepared for this cover, we discovered precisely ZERO actresses of color in the Oscar conversation — at least in the weeks starting early September when the roundtables are put together, weeks before they take place and months before the nominations are announced January 14.
Yet even for me, a white man, it was impossible to ignore the fact that every one of these women was white — whether old or young, English, Australian or American. That was appalling. The awful truth is that there are no minority actresses in genuine contention for an Oscar this year. Straight Outta Compton, which has provided some great roles for African-American men (and whose success adds proof that studios ignore minority audiences at their peril) had no women leads. Furious 7? Not quite Oscar bait.

The magazine blamed Hollywood for failing to create parts for actors and actresses of colour, and states that the magazine can only “recognize work that the industry creates”.

If there were far more minority men and women to choose from, this sort of hand-wringing would never exist. And it’s about time it changed. Unless the half-dozen men and women now running the major studios demand and foster a culture of diversity, the status quo will continue as it is. And I’ll be writing a mea culpa every year.

In response to this, some people pointed out the role magazines like The Hollywood Reporter play in determining who is and isn’t an Oscar contender.

While others pointed out the danger of excluding actresses of colour from a conversation about pay.

While others have speculated that it could be an omen for another ‘whitewashed Oscars’.

As you may remember, this year’s Oscars featured 20 white acting nominees and were subsequently dubbed the ‘whitest Oscars’ since 1998.

Idris Elba and Samuel L. Jackson are among the only actors of colour deemed to be in contention for Oscar nominations this year for their roles in Beasts of No Nation and The Hateful Eight, respectively.

Is the past doomed to repeat itself? Only time will tell.

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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