Diversity takes another step forward

Acad softens color barrier with this year's noms

HOLLYWOOD — Has the film biz’s perceived color barrier officially crumbled for good?

NAACP Hollywood bureau executive director Vicangelo Bulluck on Tuesday said, “It is a great day and everyone should be proud — not just African Americans but the entire creative community. Hollywood has come a long way since ‘Birth of a Nation.’ ”

He was saluting the nominations of actors Jamie Foxx (nommed in two categories), Don Cheadle, Morgan Freeman and Sophie Okonedo.

Three years ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences made headlines for honoring two black actors, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, in the same year; both thesps won Oscars.

Since then, there has been a greater diversity in the actors nominated.

Besides Foxx and company, Colombia-born actress Catalina Sandeno Moreno was cited for “Maria Full of Grace” this year.

In addition, scripter Jose Rivera (“The Motorcycle Diaries”), lenser Zhao Xiaoding (“House of Flying Daggers”) and various filmmakers in the shorts and docus races were cited. But, by and large, non-Anglos remain under-represented in below-the-line categories.

The Academy in the past has been accused of racism, but the noms are really a reflection of the industry at large. So while blacks and Hispanics are getting more complex, interesting roles than they did a decade ago, the Oscar noms only point up what guild studies have shown: Hollywood has a long way to go before it reaches true multicultural diversity.