Hollywood may be doing a great job standing up to our president and expressing support for those affected by his racist and xenophobic immigration orders and Muslim ban, but let’s be real. Hollywood is still, um, bad. According to a recent study, a staggering 80% of female directors had directed only one movie between 2007 and 2016. Back to reality (oh, there goes Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who has also only made one film in the last 10 years).
The study, published by USC Annenberg's Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative, analyzed the 1,000 highest grossing films of the last ten years. Of the 1,114 directors they looked at, 4% were women. Racial diversity was about the same: 57 directors (5.1%) were black and only three of those directors were women. 34 directors (3%) were Asian, three of whom were women. To be fair, a black man, Tyler Perry, has made the most amount of movies in the last 10 years—a whopping 14. The highest ranking woman, Anne Fletcher (Hot Pursuit, The Guilt Trip, The Proposal, 27 Dresses) sits at 24th place—with 31 other dudes.
While 54.3% of non-black, non-Asian male directors were “one and done,” only making one film in the past 10 years, 60% of Asian male directors and 62.5% of black male directors were also one and done. As you would expect, women were most likely to have directed only one film in the last 10 years. 79.3 percent of white female directors and 83.3 percent of female directors of color made just one movie. None of the black women directors sampled in the study directed “two or more top-grossing fictional films” in the last decade.
It’s no surprise, then, that it has been seven years since a woman has received even an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Kathryn Bigelow, the fourth woman ever nominated for a Best Director became the first woman to have ever win the damn Oscar back in 2010. Obviously it shouldn’t be this difficult for female directors to get work, but clearly Hollywood has some work to do. Perhaps Ava DuVernay’s approach to the TV series Queen Sugar—where she allows talented female indie directors to break into the TV world—could serve as an example as a method of helping other women up.