IMPACT

Oscars 2015: Lack Of Diversity Sparks Video Asking Hollywood To Cast More Actors Of Colour

02/20/2015 03:26 EST | Updated 02/20/2015 03:59 EST

There isn’t a single person of colour nominated in any of the acting categories at this year’s Academy Awards, making it the whitest Oscars since 1998 and attracting no shortage of criticism.

That’s what prompted a group of filmmakers and actors to create their own public service announcement to advocate for more diversity in movies and TV.

Filmmaker Benjamin To, the mind behind the online video, says he hopes people will share it online and help put a spotlight on the lack of roles for people of colour.

"We just want to start a conversation — an intelligent, thorough conversation — about how people from many different backgrounds are having such a difficult time finding proper representation,” To told the Huffington Post Canada in an interview.

“We know that this problem will not be resolved overnight, but the first step to alleviating anything that doesn’t seem to be right is to talk about it.”

To dubbed the video “#TOKENS” since so many actors of colour are cast as the "token (insert ethnicity) guy/girl." (Watch the full video above)

“We’ve been relegated to nothing more than set props.”

To said he was prompted to make the video after talking with actors of colour about their “nightmare” auditions, times they have tried out for racially insensitive parts because there were no other opportunities available.

Actor Samuel Reyna appears in the video wearing a sombrero, poncho and has a thick black mustache.

“Am I the only one that notices that I only get cast for certain parts?” Reyna asks the camera.

To cites a study from the University of Southern California that found 76.3 per cent of all speaking characters who appeared in the 100 top-grossing movies of 2012 were white. Just 10.8 per cent of speaking characters were black, 4.2 per cent were Hispanic, 5 per cent were Asian, and 3.6 per cent were from other (or mixed race) ethnicities.

“I never thought that in this day and age we would still be encountering these outdated stereotypes,” To told HuffPost. “Rarely are we ever the action hero, the romantic lead, or someone of great importance… Instead, we’re the servants, the sidekicks, and the mistresses to our Caucasian counterparts.”

Also on HuffPost

Oscars Best Dressed From The Past