Blacks over-represented in Oscar wins since 2000

Near the height of the #OscarsSoWhite hysteria in mid-January, The Economist published an analysis of racial distribution for Oscar nominees and winners since 2000.  Rather than support the mainstream uproar, the data refuted much of it.

Between 2000 and the present, the percentage of the U.S. general population that is black has ranged between 12.3% and 12.6%.  Over this time, the proportion of black Oscar nominees for acting was 10% – a slight under-representation, but not egregious by any reasonable standards.

On the other hand, nearly 15.5% of Oscar wins for acting were by blacks, which not only balances out any perceived under-representation at the nomination stage, but likely over-compensates.  Winning an Academy Award is far more prestigious than being nominated for one.

Researchers at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC) also conducted a study of top film roles by race between 2007 and 2013.  The findings further call into question the narrative being drawn up by the race-based activists.

According to the research team, among all racial categories, "Black males were the most likely to be shown in a committed relationship (68.4%)."  Surely this must be excellent news.  Perhaps a question should be raised as to why the film industry portrays white males as far less likely (only 58.1%) to be in socially positive committed relationship roles.

White females are more likely to be sexually exploited in top films.  The researchers found that "in comparison to Black females (23.5%), White females were more likely to be shown with some exposed skin (31.9%)."  As part of the study's "hypersexuality indicator," white females were far more likely (32.2%) to appear in "sexualized attire" than were black women (just 24.6%).

For the top-grossing films between 2007 and 2013, there is no sign of a trend toward fewer black speaking characters.  In fact, the USC team noted that "across the 100 top-grossing 2013 films ... [a] total of 3,932 speaking characters were evaluated for race/ethnicity ... 14.1% [were] Black ... Black speaking characters slightly over index (1.5%) in comparison to [the] 2010 U.S. Census."

In others words, blacks are over-represented in speaking roles within top-grossing films compared to their proportion of the general population, and blacks are over-represented within Oscar wins for acting since 2000.  Clearly not the storyline the #OscarsSoWhite movement has been eager to get out to the public.