Oscar and Hollywood’s Nearly ‘Invisible’ People With Disabilities

  • Variety
Oscar and Hollywood’s Nearly ‘Invisible’ People With Disabilities
Hollywood loves to imitate success: Superhero movies, remakes, sequels. However, it’s been almost 33 years since Marlee Matlin won her Oscar for “Children of a Lesser God.” So why haven’t studio executives demanded more actors with disabilities to play characters with disabilities?

Since 1988, one-third of Oscar’s 30 lead actor winners were portraying a character with a disability, from Dustin Hoffman through Eddie Redmayne. That’s 10 in just one category. In contrast, there have been only two winning actors with disabilities — two! — in Oscar’s entire 91 years: Harold Russell and Matlin.

This column was designed to put current Oscar hopefuls into historical context. But after Russell and Matlin, there are no more names to cite.

Hollywood stepped up its push for inclusion/diversity in 2015, and this year’s Oscar race includes more black and female filmmakers than ever before. However, there are very few films featuring people with disabilities (or
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