A new study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University has
confirmedwhat so many critics have long-observed about diversity in Hollywood: even in 2014, it is virtually nonexistent.
Salon reports that the study says that “only 15 percent of the year’s 100 top-grossing films featured women in leading roles, a rate that has barely changed from 2002, when the Center’s executive director Martha M. Lauzen first began to study the numbers. Beyond lead roles, only 30 percent of speaking roles belong to women, which has risen by only a few percentage points in about 80 years. Lauzen explained the findings to the New York Times:
“We think of Hollywood as a very progressive place and a bastion of liberal thought,” she said. “But when you look at the numbers and the representation of women onscreen, that’s absolutely not the case. The film industry does not like change.”
Ms. Lauzen also found consistencies over the last decade in the number of roles given to African-American, Latina and Asian actresses: last year they accounted for, respectively, 14 percent, 5 percent and 2 percent of all female characters. Those figures also have barely wavered from 2002.
Ms. Lauzen attributed the lack of growth in the number of leading female characters to the relative paucity of women in key roles behind the scenes: since 1998, she has found that women have consistently accounted for roughly 17 percent of writers, directors and producers.
“Lauzen’s findings highlight why it’s so important to have diversity not just on screen, but within the staff of a project. This is not just a problem in film, however; it is a problem that encompasses the entire entertainment industry: Offering a comprehensive look at the dismal record of diversity among leading television programmer HBO, the Huffington Post’s Maureen Ryan wrote last week, “If one focuses only on the last dozen years at AMC, FX, Showtime, Netflix and HBO, around 12 percent of the creators and narrative architects in the dramatic realm were women.”
More at: http://www.salon.com/2014/03/11/hollywoods_depressing_gender_problem_new_study_shows_its_barely_improving/
The number of top-grossing films made in California has dropped 60% in the last 15 years.
A big share of TV production has also left the state, as the Los Angeles Times reports today:
“All that business has gone to other states that offer filmmakers a better deal. About 40 states — North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and New York prominent among them — now give tax breaks to movie and TV producers. In 2012, those tax breaks, rebates and grants totaled $1.5 billion, according to the Times analysis.
“One producer who has taken advantage of the growing phenomenon is Gregory Bonann, the man who gave the world “Baywatch.” Bonann has not left the beach with his new TV series, “SAF3,” a show that features fictional stories about an elite rescue task force in Malibu. But he has left California. Early in the planning stages for the new series, Bonann decided to save money by taking advantage of the tax incentives in North Carolina and was set to shoot there. Then, he was offered an even sweeter deal in South Africa. California could not compete.
“California leaders may need to be even more proactive if the state is to retain its signature industry. But more than the movie business is in play in the competition between states. There is a wide range of companies the states are trying to steal from one another in a spiral of ever-more-generous tax breaks. Some economists now say many states are giving away so much revenue that the price being paid may outweigh the benefit. Continue reading “Runaway production”
In an ideal world, there would be no Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.No Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress either. In this hypothetical Hollywood, recognition is bestowed for the most masterful performance of the year—gender regardless.
But as Pacific Standards reports today, “Obviously, we don’t live in that world. Despite all the Jennifer
Lawrences and Melissa McCarthys, Hollywood is still dominated by a conspicuous gender bias. Swedish cinemas made news in November after several adopted the Bechdel test to identify gender bias in the material of various films—going so far as to exclude failing films from cinema lineups. It’s certainly a problem worth addressing, but perhaps the gravest examples of Hollywood gender bias lie behind the scenes.
“The New York Film Academy compiled this helpful infographic to illustrate some of the more shocking statistics. Among them:
- In the top 500 films produced from 2007 to 2012, only 30.8 percent of speaking roles are filled by women.
- Only 10.7 percent of those films featured a gender-balanced cast (half of the characters being female).
- There are 2.25 working actors for every working actress in Hollywood today.
- Ninety-one percent of working directors are male.
- Eighty-five percent of working screenwriters are male.
- Eighty-three percent of executive producers are male.
- Ninety-eight percent of cinematographers are male.
- Only 35 women were nominated for Academy Awards in 2013, as opposed to 140 men. There were no women nominated for directing, cinematography, film editing, original screenplays, or original scores.
- Seventy-seven percent of voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are male. (Seventy-seven percent!) Continue reading “Oscar’s gender”
While it’s not surprising that women in the entertainment industry earn less than their male counterparts, the extent of that gender pay gap is extraordinary given that the combined earnings of this year’s top actors is up more than 15% since 2009, and at its highest level in five years.
This year’s Forbes’ list of Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actors banked a collective $465 million, almost two and a half times more than what the top-paid actresses brought in. As Forbes reports: “With an estimated $75 million in earnings, Robert Downey, Jr. landed the #1 spot with a paycheck $10 million larger than the combined earnings of the five women who rounded out the top Actress’ list. By comparison, the two actors who rounded out the Actors list, Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson, each collected $33 million – the same figure that propelled Angelina Jolie to the top spot for actresses.
“Forbes’ list of Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actresses is led by Angelina Jolie earning an astounding $33 million — and the #1 spot — thanks in large part to her upcoming role in Disney’s“Maleficent,” set to be released next summer. Big-budget films also helped to land starlets Jennifer Lawrence ($24 million) and Kristen Stewart ($22 million) into the top three, with Hollywood royalty such as Jennifer Aniston ($20 million), Sandra Bullock ($14 million), Charlize Theron ($15 million), and Julia Roberts ($11 million) all making the top 10.
“This type of earnings difference may not be unique to Hollywood, but comparing Tinseltown’s top-paid talent underscores just how acute and pervasive gender inequities are in show business. What are the driving forces behind this pay gap? First and foremost, roles for women continue to remain scare, particularly in an industry where far too often talent remains defined by youthful good looks rather than acting ability. The majority of gigs are limited to secondary parts or indie films versus the big blockbusters or franchises that generate the kinds of exorbitant paychecks that landed many of this year’s leading men into the top 10. Continue reading “Gender inequality in movie acting”
Kowtowing to China has become a reflex for US film studios in search of a piece of booming – and lucrative – Chinese market, reports today’s issue of The Guardian
“In Hollywood, the screenwriter William Goldman once observed, “nobody knows anything”. Now, however, everybody knows at least one thing: whatever you do, be nice to China.
“If your movie features a Chinese villain, change his nationality. If your plot omits a scene in China, insert one – preferably with gleaming skyscrapers. If your production deal lacks a Chinese partner, find one. If Beijing’s censors dislike certain scenes, cut them. Kow-towing to China has become a reflex for actors, writers, producers, directors and studio executives in pursuit of the world’s second-biggest box office, a trend set to intensify as China overtakes the US as the No 1 film market.
“Recent blockbusters such as Iron Man 3 and Django Unchained, and others in the pipeline such as Transformers 4 and Brad Pitt’s World War Z, have been modified to please Chinese authorities and audiences, prompting accusations of artistic surrender.”It’s got to the point where everyone is thinking: how are we going to make a movie that, at the very least, is not offensive to the Chinese public?” said Peter Shiao, chair of the US-China Film Summit and founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based Orb Media Group.Screenplays look beyond China for baddies, he said. Continue reading “Hollywood’s surrender to China”
Everyone was thinking this, and a few said it at the time, but this year the Academy Award show really crossed the line.
It’s always been an irreverent affair – poking fun at egotistical celebrities and, by extension, an overly commercialized industry. So, off-color jokes are nothing new. But this is a program that boasts a global audience
of one-billion viewers, many of whom watch in prime time. And this time it was frequently patently offensive. While the blame is currently being dumped on host and front-man Kevin MacFarlane, one can hardly conceive that one person is permitted to write the lines for such a heavily hyped spectacle. This is an industry putting its ugliest misogyny and racism on display, with bits of antisemitism thrown in for good measure. The New York times today summed up what people inside and outside of Hollywood have been saying Continue reading “The Oscars in retrospect”