As the 88th Academy Awards coming to an end with all-white winners last Sunday, criticism on the lack of diversity of the U.S. entertainment industry has not yet vanished.


With the vast development of film markets in Asian countries, especially in China, the absence of Asian faces on the big screen is hard to be ignored. Compared with their white, black or Latino peers, Asian actors and actresses are no doubt minority in Hollywood.


Though major Hollywood film-production companies are eyeing the opportunities for cooperation offered by China, thanks to a varied pool of investors and a dynamic domestic film market, Chinese film makers still face difficulties in stepping on the red carpet of Hollywood.

“The virtual absence of Asian actors in Hollywood films is wrong, an embarrassment really,” said Barry Morrow, winner of the 60th Academy Award for best original screenplay of “Rain Man”.

Morrow said that the roles for Chinese actors are limited in the U.S. because there are very few U.S. made films about China and its people. “Despite their growing numbers, Asians are largely invisible in movies, TV, and commercial advertising,” he said.

“We’ve recognized Asian movies and Asian film makers in the past. It’s difficult nowadays for all foreign films to make it in the United States. People don’t give as much attention as they used to do to foreign films, which is sad but is reality,” Lorenzo Soria, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, told Xinhua.

A report by University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism examined 11,306 speaking roles in films, television shows and digital series released since 1994 and found 71.1 percent of them were white, 12.2 percent black, 5.8 percent Hispanic/Latino, 5.1 percent Asian, 2.3 percent Middle Eastern and 3.1 percent considered “other” races.

“This is no mere diversity problem. This is an inclusion crisis,” said the USC report’s author Stacy Smith. “Over half of the content we examined features no Asian or Asian-American characters. It is clear that the ecosystem of entertainment is exclusionary.”

The American Demographic reports indicated minorities constituted nearly 40 percent of the population in 2013, but “they remain under-represented on every front,” a study made by University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) noted in February. The under-representation applies to film directors, film writers, motion picture and TV performers and show creators, according to UCLA.


China has one of the world’s fastest growing film markets. Box office revenue last year reached 44 billion yuan (around 6.7 billion U.S. dollars), up 48.7 percent over 2014. The country is expected to overtake the United States to become the world’s largest film market in 2017.

“China is supporting Hollywood at box office”, Hollywood producer Robert King said. “In turn Hollywood must support this by creating more cross-over development projects.”

According to industry insiders, Asian directors, such as Ang Lee and James Wan, have proved themselves able to deliver big hits, which are popular worldwide, as well as artistic in merit. But for Chinese or China related stories, it’s still not easy to get on the stage of filming in Hollywood.

“Hollywood has dominated the movie industry from the very beginning. It has the advantage of English language which has become a sort of universal language. It has mastered over a hundred years and more how to speak in universal ways,” said Lorenzo Soria.

“China has become a key box office market. I am sure it’s going to be a major player in production in years,” Soria said. “But in order to do that, you need to find a way not to appeal just to local market but to talk in a universal language with universal teams that touch everyone,” he added.

Morrow saw the improvement of China film industry and held a positive view on young film makers who could make a difference. “I have great faith in the new generation of Chinese filmmakers, I believe that their global interests will open up a whole new palette of stories for Chinese filmmakers to paint with.”

“This is China’s springtime in modern filmmaking, and its future is unlimited,” Morrow said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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