USC Annenberg to CARD Hollywood

The First Initiative to Rank Hollywood’s (Lack of) Diversity

Sarah Chen, Photojournalist

After one of the “whitest” awards season, USC’s Annenberg School for Journalism and Communication announced the launch of their newest initiative: a Comprehensive Analysis and Report on Diversity (CARD). It is the first program of its type, that is designed to show just how exclusive the entertainment industry really is.


USC Annenberg is at the heart of USC and is one of the nation’s elite schools, featuring an outstanding Journalism program. At Annenberg, every medium of the media is studied, analyzed, and appreciated.


With this last Academy Awards, only Caucasians were nominated in a the majority of the categories, including the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, etc. USC Annenberg noticed this trend and developed this program to trace the diversity of the entertainment industry.


Not only will race be a focus of the study, but gender, ethnicity, and LGBT representation will also be graded by the USC Annenberg CARD.


“I think by giving the diversity a grade, it will really put things into perspective and bring more awareness,” said Bill Fu (11).


Precisely the point of the research, the CARD Initiative will be headed a part of by the Media, Diversity, and Social Change (MDSC) Initiative at USC Annenberg. Professor Stacy Smith will be heading the USC Annenberg CARD, leading a  group of over a hundred undergrad and graduate students who are currently a part of the MDSD Initiative.


Through their researches, the MDSC Initiative has found that females account for less than a third of all speaking characters in the most popular films, making them the most underrepresented group. African Americans are also among the top underrepresented group as well. (Seventeen of the top hundred movies do not feature a single African American and only two black women have directed popular films since 2007.)


Professor Smith believes that, “We need a broader look at who is doing well and who needs to step up their game.”


It is understandable that there is no way to place blame upon a single individual or group. The USC Annenberg CARD strives to simply show the lack of diversity both on-screen and off-screen.


The program is designed to also applaud the individuals or companies that have brought diversity into the scene. In 2016, the first awards will be given by this program to recognize and honor those individuals.


Hollywood has always been exclusive. While many flock from all  over the world to test their shot at fame, the small fraction of people who the public sees on screen are all carefully hand picked through some of the most tedious auditions. It’s a vicious cycle that does not allow outsiders an opportunity to make it big.


USC Annenberg’s newest initiative, the Comprehensive Analysis and Report on Diversity, will hopefully set a bar that will urge Hollywood to open its arms to a new, more diverse crowd. The grading system will truly put everything into perspective and provide a way for the industry to review itself.


The first “report card” will likely come out at the end of this year.