I heard Christian Bale on an EW Radio interview on Exodus speaking about the actors chosen to play Biblical characters in the movie. He said how, of course, having a Welsh man play the role of Moses was silly, but for a movie with a $140 million (!) budget, it is practically impossible to not fill the roles with well-known actors. Otherwise, backers won't give them money. They want to know that the movie will be a success and hearing that Christian Bale is attached gives them some assurance of that. Bale said that to change things, movie-goers need to support the small movies. Here is the actual quote:
“We’ve had some conversations with people about white people being cast in the film,” Bale said. “Independent films change the market. Financiers look to independent films to see what is going on … Instead of pointing fingers and protesting, the way things can change is if people are constructive. And if you say to yourself, ‘I’m gonna support Middle Eastern or North African filmmakers … I’m gonna go see those little movies.’ Because gradually they’ll build, and gradually, those actors will get into bigger films.”
And I totally agree. If studios see that the smaller, more independent films are the ones people are paying money to see, then they're going to want to get in on those movies. If the films with more diverse casts make more money, then the studios will want to make more of them. It's not a perfect system, of course, but movies are, for the most part, a money-run art. Maybe art should just be for art, but it's not. In order to get on the screens in your local movie theatres, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes. And the whole point is to get us, the movie-goers, to pay our hard-earned money to go see their movies. You can choose which movies you see, which movies you support.
And do you really care about the Academy Awards? Really? Do you even remember who won last year? It's obviously not a perfect system, neither are the Emmys or the Grammys, either. Honestly, it's all about the dresses anyway.