Diversity In Hollywood - Actors of Colour get recognition at SAGs but LGBTQ actors still struggle
Hollywood can make or break a person. Pic: The Daily Beast
Hollywood hit the headlines over the Easter weekend with the Screen Actor’s Guild taking place on Sunday night. Meanwhile Kate Winslet was speaking candidly in The Times about what LGBTQ people have to deal with in Tinsel Town, even in this day and age.
With call for more diversity getting louder by the year, this pandemic year seems to have ushered in a period of reflection for most of the big awards shows (perhaps not the Golden Globes eek) with the Oscars, BAFTA’s and now the SAG Awards taking their best foot forward to start recognising talent of all kinds.
A Royal rumbling
When HRH Prince Willian took the BAFTA voting panel to task at the 2019 awards, it seemed the next year that the voting panel took heart but even more so this year.
Schitt's Creek won a gong - and also why don't our Zooms look like this?
As president of BAFTA, William had made it his business to highlight some major issues within the voting establishment. The nominations hit all the right notes when they were announced showing a real turnaround in how the academy changed their attitudes when accolading diversity.
The Screen Actor's Guild Awards are often seen as a precursor to the Academy Awards and after the most diverse nominations yet, it looks like change is on the horizon there too. If this weekend’s winners are anything to go by then the Oscars are going to be a triumph of diversity accolades.
Plenty of Easter cheer
The SAG Awards were held on Easter Sunday in a muted hour-long pre-recorded presentation but the message was no less powerful. Voted by their acting peers, it was no surprise that Chadwick Boseman won posthumously for his final performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom with Viola Davis winning best actress for the same movie.
Viola and her partner - are they sat in the sunroom? Or the hall?
The surprises came in the form of Yuh-Jung Youn who won best female supporting actor for much lauded movie Minari and the British star of Get Out Daniel Kaluuya won male supporting actor for his role in Black Messiah. It’s been a big week for Daniel Kaluuya as he also presented this Easter weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live which is a huge deal for any star, let alone a British one
The big winner of the SAG Awards was The Trial Of The Chicago 7 which won Best Film and Best Ensemble cast, the first major title win for a Netflix movie. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, the movie has set new boundaries in storytelling and casting.
Over in the TV categories there were big main category wins for Schitt's Creek which took the Best Comedy Series trophy whilst The Crown snatched the gong for Best Drama.
Television acting awards also went to Anya Taylor-Joy for chess loving masterpiece The Queen’s Gambit and Gillian Anderson for her spot on portrayal of former British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher in the recent season of The Crown.
Jason Sudeikis breaks out the bubbly
Actor Jason Sudeikis won for the Apple+ exclusive Ted Lasso and Jason Bateman (Ozark) and Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True) also won awards. Not exactly winning on the diversity front but fantastic performances nevertheless.
It’s not just about actors of colour who are in the line of fire when it comes to this diversity reckoning though. LGBTQ actors have struggled for years to gain recognition and representation. Things are on the up with trans roles going to trans actors and the likes of Ryan Murphy blazing a trail in casting on Pose but there is a lot of work still to do.
In a recent interview with The Times, British acting superstar Kate Winslet had a lot to say on the matter. She said “I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality. it’s painful.”
That's not the Heart of the Ocean its just a necklace on Kate Winslet
She went on saying “I cannot tell you the number of young actors I know – some well known, some starting out – who are terrified their sexuality will be revealed and that it will stand in the way of their being cast in straight roles, ” she said “I’m telling you. A well-known actor has just got an American agent and the agent said, ‘I understand you are bisexual. I wouldn’t publicise that.’”
Winslet continued “I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality. it’s painful. Because they fear being found out. And that’s what they say. ‘I don’t want to be found out’.”
The Titanic actress also made sure that we know that it is mainly guy actors that are the victims of this sort of casting practise saying “It’s bad news. Hollywood has to drop that dated crap of, ‘Can he play straight because, apparently, he’s gay?’”
This is clearly a huge topic and whereas diversity is fully now on the front line, when is it time for LGBTQ actors to live their own truths without having to hide their sexualities in the shadows?