OSCAR-winner Cuba Gooding JR has slammed movie bosses who refuse to give black actors the same opportunities as their white colleagues.

The actor also argues that when a good African-American role comes up in Hollywood, it is automatically given to Will Smith.

Cuba, 34, says, "I'll never forget when Will Smith came off TV and did his first movie and nobody really paid attention to him.

"Then he did Independence Day and it made all this money and boom - he was the go-to guy. And they didn't see it as, 'Let's set a black man up', they saw him as a way to bring the people to the audience.

"To this day I speak to my agent about these great roles and he's like, 'They're all going to Will Smith.'"

Gooding, after the success of early films like Boyz n the Hood and JERRY MAGUIRE, has recently appeared in critical and commercial flops like 2002's Boat Trip, whilst Smith has starred in the hit Bad Boys and Men In Black franchises, as well as the acclaimed ALI.

05/01/2004 21:41