Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels says there are not enough roles for African American actors in films

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The Oscar-nominated director of Precious said today that there are not enough roles for African American actors in films.

Lee Daniels, whose new thriller, The Paperboy, is in competition for the Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival, said that African American actors still had to show both a public face as well as “one that we have for ourselves as African Americans that we keep close to our hearts.”

Philadelphia-born Daniels, whose 2009 film Precious earned six Academy Award nominations, echoed the concerns of many actors in America and Britain, who have said that in spite of greater recognition at awards ceremonies, it remains difficult for black actors to break into the best roles on film and in television.

Speaking at a press conference alongside Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron and David Oyelowo, who star in his latest film, Daniels said: "There aren't enough roles for African Americans in the world today and I’m very proud to have worked not only with Macy [Gray, who starred in Precious] and David, but everybody on this table.”

Earlier this month the black British star of hit TV series Homeland, David Harewood, said that despite the series’ success he had gone six months in Britain without a single audition.

Daniels' new film, The Paperboy, tells the story of a woman seeking to overturn the conviction a death row prisoner with whom she has become infatuated. It will be released later this year.