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February 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite the growing presence of African-American actors in films, nearly all are hired to play specifically black characters, Reuters observe today (Wednesday). “When roles in otherwise mainstream movies go to black actors that aren’t necessarily written for (them), I think that’s a point when there will have been some profile change,” Todd Boyd, a professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California and an expert on African American cinema and culture told Reuters, adding, “We are not there yet.” The wire service pointed out that seven of the nine best-picture nominees in Oscar contention this year do not have any black actors in leading or supporting roles. “Why couldn’t there be an African American starring in the role that Joaquin Phoenix plays [in ‘Her’]?” asked Boyd. “When you see that, then there’s a change.” However, even when attempting to produce movies in which black actors play distinctly black characters, black filmmakers face enormous obstacles, director Lee Daniels told Reuters. Despite winning Oscars for Precious in 2009, he said that he was unable to find financing from a major studio for The Butler. I was eventually distributed by the Weinstein Co. and grossed $167 million worldwide. “Once [the studios] stop underestimating us, or we find African Americans or blacks in powerful positions that can greenlight [films],” said Daniels, “then there’ll no longer be a problem.”