In what became one of the most talked-about moments at this year’s Golden Globes, Natalie Portman laid bare the sexism that permeates Hollywood. Rather than just introduce the nominees for Best Director at the Globes, the Annihilation star added one accurate observation: “Here are the all-male nominees.” Ron Howard’s reaction was priceless, as was eventual winner Guillermo del Toro. And, as the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s latest report attests, Portman was but scratching the surface of Hollywood’s imbalance when it comes to funding and producing work by female filmmakers.
Titled “Inclusion in the Director’s Chair? Gender, Race & Age of Directors across 1,100 Films from 2007-2017” the report does not tell us much we didn’t know before. White men are hired at a disproportionate rate, while women (especially women of color) barely get the chance to make good on promising work that plays at festivals and wins awards. Unsurprisingly, Latinas in the U.S. are near non-existent in the director’s chair. Here’s hoping Natalie Portman’s Annihilation co-star Gina Rodriguez is but one of the many women in Hollywood who can begin to tip these numbers. The Jane the Virgin star, like Superstore’s America Ferrera, is directing an episode of her own series. And we’re not the only ones hoping she’ll make the jump to the big screen soon after. In case you want to review some more dispiriting stats, take a look at five highlights from the full report below.
The Director's Chair is White and Male
Numbers don’t lie. Oh, and it should be telling that Latinos don’t even merit a breakdown in the above graph. That’s how far away from the conversation Latino directors (male AND female) are when it comes to helming some of the biggest box office hits in the past 11 years.
Only 7 Out of 1,223 Directors Were Women From an Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Group
You want names? Among those seven are Ava DuVernay (Selma), Gina Prince‐Bythewood (Beyond the Lights), Sanaa Hamri (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2), Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses), Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2 & 3) and Loveleen Tandan (Slumdog Millionaire).
Only One Latina Worked As a Director of the 1,100 Films from 2007 to 2017
The one Latina to make the cut? Patricia Riggen, who’s directed crossover hits like Under the Same Moon, The 33, and Miracles from Heaven.
Only 19% of Boards of Director Seats at Major Media Companies are Filled by Women
As the report points out, looking merely at who gets hired to direct what tells only half the story. If there is to be a change in these hiring practices, the industry needs to look at who is making those decisions in the first place; i.e. who is in the room at the highest levels of power. And, as they show, there’s a lot of work still to be done.
Numbers Don't Suggest It's Getting Better
Despite major tentpoles like A Wrinkle in Time (directed by DuVernay) coming later this year, there is little to suggest that Hollywood has begun making the necessary changes to shift these numbers into not-depressing territory.