In some ways Hollywood seems to be making serious headway in terms of diversity and inclusion. The Time’s Up movement, for one, has called for more diverse roles for women, while some television networks have mandated that women now be in the director’s chairs too. Meanwhile a recent diversity report found that many top-rated TV shows have diverse casts, as do recent blockbuster films like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther, both of which smashed box-office records.
These findings show that today’s audiences are not only demanding diverse content but also actively seeking it out and supporting it. The numbers are there. Yet despite all of this progress, two new findings from 2019 prove one thing: la-la land has still got a long, long way to go.
For starters: While racial diversity in film is slowly on the rise, not all ethnicities are necessarily being represented. Today a new study found that Latino actors currently only make up 4.5% of speaking roles in Hollywood. “Latinos in Film: Erasure on Screen & Behind the Camera Across 1,200 Popular Movies” found that, in the top 100 grossing films from 2007 through 2018, only 3% of featured leads or coleads were Latino. This is a shocking statistic, considering 49% of Los Angeles’s population is Latino. That’s almost half of Hollywood’s home city being erased.
Another troubling fact: The upcoming Venice Film Festival, which kicks off on Wednesday, will only feature two female filmmakers—Shannon Murphy (Babyteeth) and Haifaa Al-Mansour (The Perfect Candidate)—in the 21-film main competition. I guess it could be considered progress: Last year the festival only had one film directed by a woman. Venice Film Festival chief Alberto Barbera said then that the festival’s selections were made “on the basis of the quality of the film” and that weighing gender would be “really offensive for the director.”
Although representation does seem to be increasing, sometimes it seems like every step Hollywood takes forward is regrettably small, and it’s easy to be discouraged by the apparent lack of progress made on the diversity front. But fear not! It’s not all bleak news: Some of fall’s most exciting film projects feature diverse leading roles—and many are even directed by women too, from Melina Matsoukas’s racial injustice drama Queen & Slim to Elizabeth Banks’s Charlie’s Angels action reboot. Studio heads, please take note.
Originally Appeared on Vogue