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Report Finds Diverse Movies Outperform White Ones At Every Level

One of the most powerful talent agencies in Hollywood has put out a report that pushes back against many preconceived notions about the way movies with diverse casts perform at the box office.

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which lays claim to many of Hollywood’s most famous actors and actresses, was inspired to look into film diversity after discovering that non-white Americans purchased a disproportionate number of movie tickets last year.

To be specific, non-white Americans scooped up 49 percent of all tickets sold in the U.S. last year, even though they make up a smaller percentage of the U.S. population ― somewhere around 38 percent.

So researchers sifted through 413 films released between the beginning of 2014 and the end of 2016, documenting the ethnicity of the top 10 billed actors for each of them. They wanted to find out how films with a significant non-white presence ― which they defined as 30 percent and up ― performed at the U.S. box office. 

Lo and behold, they did well. Really well. As CAA put it in an email to HuffPost: 

At every budget level, a cast that is at least 30% non-white outperforms a release that is not, in opening weekend box office.

The audience side of things tells a similar story. Films that had what CAA called a “truly diverse” audience ― meaning the audience was between 38 percent and 70 percent non-white ― pulled in around $31 million on opening weekend on average, versus $12 million for overwhelmingly white films. 

The hope is that seeing real numbers attached to the success of the inclusion of more voices and diverse casts will be further motivation for studios, networks and others to be really conscious of the opportunity.
CAA President Richard Lovett

The findings are significant. Despite increased interest in Hollywood representation due to #OscarsSoWhite and other moments, people of color have continued to struggle to convince studio executives to green-light their ideas. Last year, Angela Robinson, a black woman who directed “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” described it as a “my kind of people” problem.

“If I were to give someone $50-100 million dollars ... I’d really, really want to feel super comfortable with that person,” she told HuffPost at the time. “Racism and sexism kind of go into it, but it’s more just a comfort thing. Like, you are my kind of person. I grew up with people like you. Or I went to college with people like you.”

Christy Haubegger, leader of CAA’s multicultural development group, told the Los Angeles Times that she hopes the company’s research shows that “people [actually] want to see a world that looks like theirs,” and that movie executives are hindering themselves if they only rely on white friends and try to appeal to white audiences.

“One of the interesting things that the most successful movies share is that they’re broadly appealing to diverse audiences,” Haubegger added. 

Richard Lovett, CAA’s president, told the Times he would like the hard data in the report to help studios confront some of their longstanding assumptions. 

“The hope is that seeing real numbers attached to the success of the inclusion of more voices and diverse casts will be further motivation for studios, networks and others to be really conscious of the opportunity,” Lovett told the outlet.

In recent years, CAA has made a point to promote a culture of inclusion. The agency has emphasized minority recruitment, especially at historically black colleges and women’s colleges, and used its internship program to help people of color get a foot in the door. (In the last half decade, a majority of the company’s interns worldwide have been people of color.)

Things are changing at the higher ranks of the company, too. Between 2016 and 2017, so far, the revenues of CAA’s multicultural clients have risen by 14 percent. 

“The issue of diversity and inclusion is a very important one for us,” CAA executive Ryan Tarpley said last year. “We believe more diverse voices from diverse backgrounds make our company stronger, with a better quality experience for everyone — our company and clients. It’s good business.”

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that CAA’s multicultural clients have risen by 14 percent between 2016 and 2017. The revenues of CAA’s multicultural clients have risen by 14 percent. 

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jun 22 17, 17:57
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Elizabeth Banks Gets Buried In Blanket Statement About Steven Spielberg

Elizabeth Banks took one step forward and two steps back in her critique of Steven Spielberg’s male-dominated oeuvre.

At the Crystal & Lucy Awards on Tuesday, the “Power Rangers” star received top honors for her work in film, given her record-breaking directorial debut with “Pitch Perfect 2.” During her acceptance speech, Banks did her best “sorry not sorry” for naming Spielberg as one of many directors who sideline women’s stories on screen. 

“I went to ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Jaws’ and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made, and by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven,” Banks said on stage, according to The Wrap. “I don’t mean to call your ass out, but it’s true.” 

“Buy a fucking ticket to a movie with a woman, take them, give them the experience of seeing amazing women on film,” she added. 

While Banks isn’t wrong about a general lack of female leads in Spielberg’s films, he notably directed 1985’s “The Color Purple” starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. “The Sugarland Express” in 1974 and “The BFG” in 2016 also included female leads. Someone in the crowd reportedly alerted Banks about the film adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel but, according to The Wrap, she “moved on.” 

Many on social media were also quick to remind Banks about “The Color Purple,” suggesting that the error might be more telling about her own blindspots than Spielberg’s career. 

Banks continued: “I directed one movie. I’m really glad to be up here and getting an award, but it’s really about expanding the roles of women in this industry.”

“Part of the reason I’m here is because the movie made $287 million,” she said.

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jun 15 17, 19:28
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Academy President Departs Oscar Leadership After Racially Fraught Tenure

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president who oversaw the organization during two consecutive #OscarsSoWhite controversies and pushed for more diversity among its membership, is stepping down from the Board of Governors, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

HuffPost reached out to an Oscars publicist about the news but did not immediately receive a response. Boone Isaacs’ role as president was already coming to an end, as officers cannot serve more than four consecutive years. She was eligible to return as a regular member of the Board of Governors, but she is reportedly seeking time away from Academy leadership after a strenuous stint at its helm. 

Each Academy board member represents one of the various branches that vote for the Oscars; together they supervise the organization’s finances and set its goals and strategies. The president becomes the face of the Academy, and Boone Isaacs was a very public one. She was also the first black leader in the organization’s 90-year history. Following two years of only white acting nominees, Boone Isaacs amplified the percentage of women and people of color invited to join. She also oversaw the decision to keep PricewaterhouseCoopers as the Academy’s voting accounting firm despite this year’s infamous envelope snafu

Elections for the Academy’s new Board of Governors will occur in June. Notable names who’ve submitted themselves for the ballot reportedly include Whoopi Goldeberg, Geena Davis, Queen Latifah, Rita Wilson, Jacki Weaver, Netflix chief Ted Sarandos, Disney president Ed Catmull, producer Jason Blum, director Brett Ratner, documentarian Morgan Spurlock, screenwriter John Ridley and cinematographer Mandy Walker.

Those seeking a Board of Governors position can also become president. The Hollywood Reporter has the full list of candidates

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may 12 17, 20:19
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A Reminder That Nearly All On-Screen Superheroes Look Like Chris Pine

May typically marks the start of summer blockbuster season and lately that means two things: Get ready for some superhero movies, and get ready to mix up some Chrises. 

One such Chris, Chris Pine, took the stage to host “Saturday Night Live” this weekend with a clear message: Although there are many men like him, he is, in fact, unique. 

And as far as classically handsome hero types in recent Hollywood blockbusters go, he’s definitely got the first part right. 

Unfortunately for him, however, Pine bears a strong resemblance to the white, male stars of other comic-book adaptions, and, through a coincidence that says a lot about the state of on-screen diversity, they also share a first name. Although individually talented human beings, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt and Chris Hemsworth all too easily illustrate the continuing problem of on-screen representation ― particularly among superhero movies.

On Saturday night, “SNL” cast members gleefully confused the four Chrises, who star in various Marvel and DC Comics franchise installments, throughout Pine’s opening monologue. 

(”Thank you, Thor,” Leslie Jones says after snapping a selfie. Thor, an “Avengers” character, is played by Hemsworth.)

While their other look-alikes are taking a break for the moment, you’ve likely seen Pratt, who recently embarked on a press tour for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” now in theaters. Pine’s “Wonder Woman” is out June 2. As the actor, who also plays Captain Kirk in the “Star Trek” movies, pointed out himself, superheroes, like Star-Lord, all have the same look ― white, male and as inoffensive as possible. Or, as Kate McKinnon phrased it, “you’re all kind of scruffy and squinty and jacked but in a sweet way.”

A change in optics hoped for by fans of “Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot ― who is, yes, a woman ― seems to be coming at a glacial pace keenly illustrated by the way that film languished in various stages of production from the 1980s. Given our knowledge of how on-screen representation affects viewers’ self-worth, the pace is unfortunate. A few other breaks from the norm will arrive over the next three years: “Black Panther,” starring Chadwick Boseman, will be out in 2018, “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson, in 2019, and a stand-alone Cyborg film in 2020. 

At least it’s something. For decades, superhero movies have served as a genre that celebrates white male achievement like no other, emblematic of the widespread Hollywood diversity issues that inspired #OscarsSoWhite. Studios may have wizened up to public perception, featuring women and people of color in roles that get less screen time in films such as “Deadpool,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.” But you’ll notice the figures at the front of promotional posters are not women, black actors, Asian actors, gay actors or anyone beyond people who’d feel easily at home in the Chris Quartet. 

Or this Venn diagram:

While the Oscars offered wider diversity in its nominations this year, it’s the most pervasive, biggest moneymaking titles ― the movies that won’t take home prestigious awards but will nonetheless be known to every household in America by September ― that seem to need the most work.

Most recent statistics on representation among film leads continue to find gross inequality; 2015’s top films showed minorities underrepresented 3 to 1 and women underrepresented 2 to 1, according to the UCLA’s Bunche Center. The problem is even worse among the people leading production of top films: the study found that their directors continue to skew white (90 percent) and male (92 percent). Among the people ultimately responsible for getting these movies made and shipped out to massive screens nationwide ― studio executives ― the majority are, again, white men.

This summer’s “Wonder Woman” will offer some respite from the onslaught of white guys in movies wearing shiny, tight-fitting suits, who look like white guys in directors’ chairs wearing T-shirts, who look like white guys in board rooms wearing normal suits. (And it’s directed by one Patty Jenkins! Huzzah!)

But it remains symbolic that Pine is seen promoting the film on the set of “SNL”― not Wonder Woman herself.

For now, we’re still living in the Age of the Many Chrises. 

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may 9 17, 00:50
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People Aren't Happy Vogue India Put Kendall Jenner On Its Anniversary Cover

Priyanka Chopra ― once a star in her home of India, now an international star ― is one of the first South Asian actors to nab the lead in a major American network series, in “Quantico.” Aishwarya Rai’s long career in Bollywood has made her one of India’s most iconic celebrities. This year, British actor Dev Patel became the third Indian to ever receive an Oscar nomination.

Any of these celebrities would have made an excellent choice to represent the face of Vogue India on the magazine’s 10th anniversary, which was unveiled Wednesday.

Instead, the editors recruited the ultra-famous American supermodel Kendall Jenner to grace the cover of its collectors edition issue with a gilded tag line, “Indian Affair” ― and many fans of the Indian fashion magazine were not pleased.

Critics of the cover’s choice of model took their opinions to Vogue India’s social media accounts and asked the magazine why it couldn’t find an Indian model to celebrate the anniversary.

Why not an Indian model when there are so many???” one Facebook commenter wrote. “This doesn’t create the sense that India has its own beauty and character.”

Another noted the irony: “It’s like Russian models celebrating a French anniversary.

Most critics argued the same point: Vogue India, a fashion magazine for Indians, appeared to be valuing white beauty over Indian beauty.

Vogue India, for its part, regularly features Indian celebrities on its covers and did include Indian talent in the milestone issue.

Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput joined Jenner in the photo shoot, which was shot by renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino at the Samode Palace in Jaipur, India. Actress Katrina Kaif had her own sultry spread in the magazine, which was also photographed by Testino.

But neither of those Indian actors, nor the Indian models featured throughout the issue, apparently was deemed important enough to make it to the glossy front with Jenner.

Vogue India did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

It’s not uncommon for international magazines to splash American talent ― especially models of global acclaim, like Jenner ― on their covers. Gigi Hadid, for example, made the cover of Vogue China’s March edition, and virtually no one was upset. As made clear by supermodel sage Tyra Banks in countless episodes of “America’s Next Top Model,” being invited to be featured in another country’s elite fashion magazine is considered an honor for aspiring super models.

But the outrage reflects the growing concern surrounding the lack of diversity and the rampant whitewashing in popular media.

The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag went viral after critics noticed how white actors dominated the nomination lists. People cried foul when Vogue’s American edition featured Karlie Kloss as a Japanese geisha, instead of using an Asian or Japanese model, in its March 2017 issue. Similarly, big-budget films like “Ghost in the Shell” and “Dr. Strange” were called out for putting white actresses in roles that were originally Asian characters.

With the help of voice-boosting social media, it’s clear that now more than ever, people are willing to speak out when they feel like true diversity is not being represented ― and Vogue India is clearly not immune to hearing that frustration. 

Controversy aside, there is some good coming from Jenner’s photo shoot in India. One of Testino’s photos of Jenner at the Indian palace is being sold as a limited edition print, with a portion of the profits going to Girl Rising India, a campaign that funds and promotes education for girls around the world.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Jenner has been the target of criticism. People slammed the 21-year-old model when she appeared in a tone-deaf Pepsi commercial that tried to use social justice protests to sell soda.

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may 5 17, 06:15
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44 Leaders, Legislators And Artists Sum Up Trump's First 100 Days

In October 2016, before Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, he outlined a plan of all the things he hoped to accomplish during his first 100 days in office.

But in the wake of failure and unfulfilled promises as his 100th day approaches, the president has changed his tune. Last week, he criticized “the ridiculous standard” of the first 100 days, slamming the deadline in one sentence.

To mark the milestone, HuffPost asked lawmakers, activists, lobbyists and influencers to offer their own (roughly) one-sentence takes on Trump’s first 100 days. 

Here are the responses, which have been lightly edited for clarity and style:

Khizr Khan, Gold Star father

“Every action and word of Trump has [a] foul stench of political expediency and self-aggrandizing, total lack of moral compass and leadership.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)

“President Trump has spent his first 100 days lying to the American people about issues both great and small, refusing to disclose his tax returns or address fears about his campaign’s ties to Russia, struggling to advance a coherent foreign policy strategy and failing to guarantee affordable health coverage for all Americans ... #sad!”

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter 

“45 has proven to be one of the most dangerous human beings on the planet; we must resist his regime and build a movement in the millions.”

Cathy Heller, one of the women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct

“[The first 100 days] are as bad as I thought they’d be. I am a bit relieved that some of his efforts — the travel ban, his health care bill — have been stymied so far, but those fights are not over.” 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)


Philip Ellender, president of government and public affairs at Koch Industries

“We’re encouraged by the administration’s work to rein in burdensome and unnecessary regulatory overreach that has stifled innovation and has added unnecessary costs to goods and services that Americans rely on every day.”

Michael Mann, climate scientist

“Back in October, I wrote that Donald Trump is a threat to the planet, and what we have seen in his first 100 days of office — denying the threat of climate change, hiring climate deniers and fossil fuel industry lobbyists to fill key administrative roles, and issuing executive orders aimed at dismantling the progress of the past eight years — reaffirms that.” 

Aasif Mandvi, actor

“It’s been 100 days. I can’t believe it’s only been 100 days. I thought he was going to take a year to start showing signs of demagoguery.”

Fr. James Martin, editor-at-large of America magazine and consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication

“I hope that the president might consider the needs of those he used to call ‘losers’ ― in this case, those who have lost out at the hands of the economy: the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the sick and the uninsured.”

Sheryl Crow, singer-songwriter

“There’s been an arc of betrayal, chaos, manipulation and ignorance.”

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center

“President Trump has proven in his first 100 days that the economic populism of his campaign was fake, but that the racism and xenophobia were very real. His support for the health care bill showed his indifference to the fate of those trying to make ends meet. At the same time, he’s pressed a far-right agenda targeting immigrants, Muslims, the LGBT community and others who are vulnerable.”

Tom Perriello, Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia

“It is hard to decide whether his supporters, whom I meet with often on the trail, are more disheartened by President Trump’s sheer incompetence, his ties to Russia, or his failure to focus on jobs, but this toxic trifecta means about the most positive review I hear is, ‘Give him a bit more time.’”

April Reign, activist who created #OscarsSoWhite

“Trump’s first 100 days have been harrowing and bear witness that we must challenge him and his administration at every turn by continuing to fight for justice and equity for all marginalized communities.”

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.)

“About as bad as could be expected from a team of misogynist, climate-change denying, anti-immigration, billionaire civil rights opponents, but we better be ready for even worse to come.”

Ben Cohen, activist and co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s

“It’s clear now that ‘Drain the Swamp’ really meant ‘Suck up all the morally bankrupt billionaires, Wall Street executives, and special-interest pond scum, and then pump them into the White House with a fire hose.’”

Raed Saleh, leader of Syrian rescue group the White Helmets

“After President Obama failed to uphold his ‘red line’ and let [Syrian President Bashar Assad] put Syria into a six-year spiral of horror and destruction, Syrians have found hope in President Trump’s resolve to reassert the international community’s intolerance towards the use of chemical weapons. We now wait to see if he will lead the international effort to help protect Syrians from other brutal regime tactics, and to help build a democratic alternative to the brutality and extremism of both Assad and ISIS.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

“Promises to working families: either broken or unfulfilled.”

Former Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), executive director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

“To date, President Trump’s nuclear policy can only be described as consistently inconsistent. After 100 days with the nuclear codes, it’s still not clear that the president understands the complexity of the nuclear threats facing the United States or that these threats cannot be mitigated through tweeting.”

Kathy Griffin, comedian

“During the first 100 days, there’s been never a better time to be a standup comic and never a scarier time to be a human on the planet of Earth.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

“President Trump’s first 100 days have been a disastrous parade of broken promises to working people, handouts to wealthy special interests, and deep damage to the health and economic security of America’s families.”

Rob Delaney, comedian and co-creator of Amazon’s “Catastrophe”

“Seen from space, Trump’s first 100 days has been a muddled but steady effort to lay the groundwork to redistribute the nation’s wealth from the bottom 99 percent to the top 1 percent, with him and his grotesque family astride the foul summit (with a side order of bigotry).”

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, director of external relations for the National Center for Transgender Equality

“The Trump administration has taken malicious and harmful actions against several minority groups over the last 100 days, including attacking one of the nation’s most vulnerable populations by rescinding Title IX guidance that clarified how to create safe and affirming environments for transgender children.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

“Bad for children, mothers, workers, immigrants, women’s health, LGBTQ rights and national security, just to name a few.”

Peter Neffenger, former administrator of the Transportation Security Administration

“Although a new administrator has not yet been nominated, I’m glad to see that the transformative changes we began continue to move forward, particularly with respect to partnering with the private sector to develop and deploy new security technologies through the TSA Innovation Task Force, coupled with continued focus and coordination on public area security.”

Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999

“Donald Trump’s delusional.”

Al Madrigal, comedian and former correspondent on “The Daily Show”

“It’s been a shockingly horrible disaster ― he’s gone back on so many promises that I can’t believe the people in his base that put him in office can continue to support him, considering that he hasn’t done a thing that he’s promised to do. But what do I know? I’m just some idiot comedian.”

Jonathan Gruber, economics professor at MIT

“Trump’s first 100 days showed that democracy still functions as long as there are truth-telling organizations out there like the CBO ― and highlighted the key dependence of our government on those institutions.”

Richard Carmona, U.S. surgeon general from 2002-2006

“A perception of unpredictable entropy, chaos, confusion and alternate facts have so far infected the beltway. America is better than this, let’s show the world who we really are!”

Tamika Mallory, national co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington

“We need to continue to use our voices to push back on the harmful policies and rhetoric of this administration, because the imminent threat that communities are up against is something too great to ignore.”

Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama

“Trump’s relationship to the presidency so far seems like my relationship with dieting ― he wants the results without doing the hard work.” 

Melissa Etheridge, singer-songwriter

“It has solidified and brought to the surface even more the importance of diversity and how diversity is challenging and fearful to some. Being on the other side of diversity — being the diverse part of diversity — that means it is my job to take that freedom, to take that responsibility and to respect and love myself and to stand in my truth with it and show that the only way to get out of this mess is by understanding and believing that diversity is what makes us stronger.”

Tom Colicchio, “Top Chef” host and co-founder of

“The first hundred days of any presidency comes with a steep learning curve … unfortunately, this instance has been a classic example of ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’”

Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods

“I think it’s making things more urgent. I don’t know if we’re getting better art, I don’t know if we’re getting more art. But the art we are getting feels more urgent.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD

“100 days of Trump translates into 100 days of erasure for the LGBTQ community ― from the census exclusion, to rescinding Obama’s guidance for trans youth in schools, and lack of any LGBTQ mentions on the White House website, he has spent the early days of his administration trying to remove us from the very fabric of this country, and we must resist.”

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

“Major issue: Supreme Court nominee is approved. It’s one of the reasons why he got elected.”

Tom Toro, New Yorker cartoonist

“Despite countless pathetic failures during his first 100 days in office, Trump can point to one great accomplishment: He has inspired a record number of people to become politically engaged artists. The spontaneous creativity of the Resistance, led by ordinary citizens expressing themselves with extraordinary imagination, has grown day by day to become the most powerful cultural force of the century, and it ― not Trump’s vacuous, vain avarice ― will shape the future of our nation.”

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)

“With regards to marijuana policy, we need the Trump administration to stop sending mixed messages filled with backtracks and flat out flip-flops. We need to take the marijuana sector out of a grey zone and into a legitimate one.”

Kelly Garvy, founder of Protecting Progress in Durham

“Trump lies and embarrasses himself and the country on a daily basis, but for the past 100 days, I have forged new relationships and friendships with wonderful people in my community ― and we are ready for 2018.”

María Teresa Kumar, founding president and CEO of Voto Latino

“From immigration to health care, the president’s agenda is the antithesis of a forward-looking nation, with the potential to take us back to our country’s darkest days.”

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.)

“Two words: Neil Gorsuch.”

Joycelyn Elders, U.S. surgeon general from 1993 to 1994

“While the POTUS may be a genius, he would greatly benefit by listening to the informed ideas of authorities in health care, education and human rights in order to bring motivation and hope to all.”

Ian Kerner, relationship counselor and sex therapist

“Whereas in the Obama era, ‘sexual cliteracy’ was on the rise and the ‘orgasm gap’ between men and women had been closing, I am now seeing a rise in sexual complaints from women about men who are woefully ill-cliterate. Sadly, the ‘Viva La Vulva’ years are over.” 

Heems, rapper

“It’s been really rough. I can say from a community perspective a lot of South Asians are much more worried about their reality.”

Lewis Black, comedian

“It feels like two and a half years. Two and a half years is what it feels like.”

Multiple HuffPost reporters contributed to this story.

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apr 29 17, 17:14
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This 'Game Of Thrones' Actress Said TV's 'Lack Of Diversity' Hurt Her Self-Esteem As A Child

Actress Nathalie Emmanuel recently opened up about the damaging nature of seeing predominantly white casts on television while growing up. 

In an interview with Hunger magazine, the “Game of Thrones” star, who is half Dominican said that she didn’t see people who reflected her racial identity during her childhood.

“For me, when I was growing up, not seeing anyone on television that looked like me or that I could identify with was really hard, and that can affect someone’s self-esteem hugely,” Emmanuel -- who plays Missandei, a translator on "Game of Thrones" -- told Hunger. 

Emmanuel, who also played Ramsey, a computer hacker in “Fast and Furious 7” lauded the movie’s casting for its exemplary diversity. But where the rest of the Hollywood ― whose diversity issue was bought to light in 2016 during the #OscarsSoWhite controversy ― is concerned, she said that despite the attempts at diverse casting, she doesn’t know how long-standing these efforts will be. 

“Will it be that they just do the one film and then it goes back?” she questioned. “If you go up for anything, you know there is always a cast of people and a small number of them are [from] a minority.

“The majority of the cast will be white with a few roles from a different ethnicity. Ultimately that’s not the world we live in,” she said. 

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mar 20 17, 17:00
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We Didn't Make It Through The Oscar Red Carpet Without A 'Hidden Fences' Flub

Hidden Fences” debuted at the Golden Globes earlier this year when both Jenna Bush Hager and Michael Keaton mixed up two of the year’s biggest films, “Hidden Figures” and “Fences,” and, unfortunately, combined them into one. On Sunday, “Hidden Fences” returned at the Oscars

This time, it was People’s editorial director, Jess Cagle, who made the unfortunate flub. Cagle corrected himself right away, but folks on Twitter didn’t let him get off too easy.

Comedian Travon Free called him out:

As did “Bad Feminist” author, Roxane Gay: 

And a few other folks:

As Huffington Post’s own Lilly Workneh wrote, it should not be that difficult to remember the names of these Oscar-nominated films. Aside from that, there’s most likely a teleprompter nearby for the specific purpose of preventing these mishaps. 

Ted Melfi, director of “Hidden Figures,” weighed in on the “Hidden Fences” mix-up when it first happened, telling HuffPost, “You laugh about it. You say, ‘Oh that’s funny.’ And then... it’s not that funny.” 

“You start to analyze it. Is it misspelled on the teleprompter? You think, well if that’s the case, it’s even worse,” Melfi added, before noting that eventually “you just chalk it up to the fact that people make mistakes. You just move on.”

Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen again. 

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feb 27 17, 04:09
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This Feminist Film Got Snubbed By The Oscars, But You Should Watch It Anyway

When we meet Dorothea ― the heroine of Mike Mills’ film “20th Century Women,” a 50-something mom played by Annette Bening ― it’s hard to know what to make of her.

She’s not trying to make it big in Hollywood. She’s not trying to hunt down her rapist, or plan the perfect event to solidify her husband’s place in history. Her goals are less concrete than that, her successes less triumphant. And that could be why both Bening and Mills were snubbed this year at the Oscars, for Best Actress and Best Picture, respectively.

The film opens with a shot of Dorothea’s immolated car, the last remnant of her failed marriage. It’s so old that it’s finally combusted, but she doesn’t mind. She laughs it off, and invites the fireman who’s come to her aide over for dinner, to her teenage son Jamie’s chagrin.

Over the course of the film, we get to know her through her quirky habits, as narrated by Jamie. She’s generous, and lets Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a 20-something photographer battling cervical cancer, stay in her Santa Barbara home without always making rent. She’s old-fashioned and isn’t appreciative of Abbie’s menstruation talk at the dinner table. But she also knows the limits of her ‘50s convictions in a late ‘70s, punk-rock world. Realizing that she’s struggling to communicate with her son, she enlists Abbie and Jamie’s best friend Julie (Elle Fanning) to help raise him. “How do you be a good man?” she wonders. “I don’t know how you do that nowadays.”

The film, to its credit, is both about Bening’s loosening off of domestic shackles and her attempt to raise a young man who’s a feminist ally, in the throes of the movement’s second wave.

The latter storyline garnered criticism; why tell a feminist story through the lens of a boy? A review in the Village Voice observes that Mills’ references to Our Bodies, Ourselves and Sisterhood is Powerful feel “awkwardly exploited, inserted to salute not so much Jamie’s advisers — those first female readers — as the teenager himself.”

It’s a thorny premise, certainly, especially when women’s stories are still undermined onscreen. But the movie, while told from Jamie’s point of view, belongs to Dorothea, and Bening, who outshines an impressive cast.

It’s unlikely that the movie’s less progressive conception was its downfall in the eyes of the Academy, which has been criticized for favoring the narratives of those with power to those without it (lest we forget #OscarsSoWhite). But it wouldn’t be a jump to think that “20th Century Women” was overlooked due to what some critics count as its strength: it’s a mood piece, not a high-volume, crescendoing drama or musical. Compared with most of the films that did manage to secure Best Picture nominations — “La La Land,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hidden Figures” — its plot is subdued, and at times meandering.

Abbie gets involved with one of Dorothea’s other boarders; Jamie gets into David Byrne and his attendant subversiveness; Julie challenges her parents’ oppressive psychologizing. Dinner parties are had. A lot happens, but the stakes are low.

Compare this with the Best Picture winners from the past few years ― “Spotlight,” “Argo,” “The King’s Speech,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Departed,” especially ― and there’s a marked difference. Those movies are highly dramatized; Mills’ is anything but.

Like his earlier movies, “Thumbsucker” and “Beginners,” “20th Century Women” is an autobiographical reflection of the director’s upbringing. Snapshots of cultural hallmarks and pastiche are woven into his stories like projector slides, an effect some critics find authentic, and others find gratuitously twee.

No matter which side you fall on, it’s evident that Mills’ storytelling techniques neatly match the stories he sets out to tell. He’s not guilty of the Sofia Coppola-like tendency to shroud every scene, regardless of its subject matter, in diffuse light. Instead, he uses meandering, character-centered plots to heighten a sense of ennui, which Dorothea, who came of age in the ‘40s, suffers from.

Like Hal in “Beginners,” a suburban father who only feels free to come out as gay after his wife dies, Dorothea is the product of a stifling time when gender roles were expected to be assumed. 

To place her in a spacious story, one where she’s free to take up new hobbies, to make wry jokes, is an act of love. It also happens to be an entertaining experience for the viewer; Dorothea does have obstacles to overcome, namely casting off her own social conditioning. And that ― still, today ― is one of the most relatable conflicts there is.

You can be highbrow. You can be lowbrow. But can you ever just be brow? Welcome to Middlebrow, a weekly examination of pop culture. Read more here.

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feb 22 17, 19:52
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Outside Acting Categories, Report Finds 4 Out Of 5 Oscar Nominees Are Men

The Academy has given a lot more non-white people a shot at taking home little gold statues in 2017. This year’s nominees feature actors of color including Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Mahershala Ali, presenting the welcome image of a Hollywood committed to telling more diverse stories than past decades’ predominately white, male ones.

But in non-acting categories ― that is, the ones not inherently divided by gender ― the landscape is marked by one defining factor: They’re still mostly men. 

A study by the Women’s Media Center found that only 20 percent of Academy Award nominations in categories from writing to editing to directing went to women this year. That’s in spite of the Academy inviting nearly 700 new voting members in mid-2016, including many women and people of color.

“We have a saying, ‘If you can see it, you can be it,’ but in the crucial behind-the-scenes non-acting roles, our ‘Women’s Media Center Investigation’ shows that what you see is 80 percent of all nominees are men,” Julie Burton, president of the WMC, said in a statement.

The organization notes that the number of nominated women is roughly on par with the number of women hired in behind-the-scenes roles in 2016. Women made up 17 percent of those directing, writing, producing, editing and cinematographer positions among the year’s top 250 domestic films in 2016, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

Acting categories seemed to be more diversified after two consecutive years of #OscarsSoWhite protests against Hollywood’s lack of representation. Three black women were nominated for supporting roles ― a record

Behind the scenes, there was good news for diversity advocates, too. “Moonlight” co-editor Joi McMillan became the first black woman ever nominated for editing, and “Jackie” composer Mica Levy became the first woman to be nominated in 17 years for an original score. 

But the WMC warns that until more women are hired for those behind-the-camera jobs, parity in nominations will be tough to reach.

“[W]ith appreciation to Michelle Obama,” Burton said, “we ask the studio and agency executives who are OK with making a bunch of deals that exclude women to ‘be better.’ The perspectives, experience and voices of more than half the population deserve an equal seat at the table.”

Take a look at the gender split in non-acting categories below.  

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jan 30 17, 21:30
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