But these increased roles have been slower to garner recognition. Awards shows have routinely overlooked black and LGBTQ actors: shows that can catapult a career to new heights.
All that began to change after 2015. That year, during the Academy Awards broadcast, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite began to trend on social media. All 20 acting awards went to white actors. Then #TimesUp began to trend because no female directors had even been nominated. At the time, 96 percent of top film directors were men and 86 percent of lead film rolls were white.
This started a social justice movement across film and television to demand change. And slowly but surely, the people we see on our television screens have indeed become more diverse. Afraid of bad publicity, awards shows began to make an effort to level the playing field with nominations.
But not the Golden Globes. In February 2021, the Golden Globes Awards nearly fell apart. Again, their nominations’ lack of diversity caused an uproar. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) picks its nominees. The L.A. Times revealed that there were no black HFPA members. Charges of prior racism, sexism and homophobia followed.
Then came the backlash. NBC canceled the 2022 broadcast. Netflix and Amazon refused to work with them until real changes are made. Tom Cruise returned his awards. The HFPA has been left scrambling to clean up its act.
Soon, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences looked at its own organization. It hired a consulting firm, ReadySet. ReadySet reviewed the diversity initiatives. It surveyed inside and out to see where change could be made. The Academy has now set a mandate to increase visibility.