Female Film Directors Virtually Shut Out of Paramount, Fox Movies Through 2018-ish
In more frustrating news about the film industry's staggering lack of diversity, a survey conducted by entertainment media site TheWrap found that as of April 20, not a single movie set to be released by either 20th Century Fox or Paramount through 2018 have women directors at the helm. Nope, not one.
The site's tally found that the next 22 and 25 consecutive films from both Fox and Paramount respectively — aka every publicly-announced movie slated to release in 2016, 2017, and 2018 — are to be directed by men. (Surprise!) Their results did not include projects from Fox Searchlight Pictures. Other major studios including Disney, Universal, Sony, and Warner Bros. were also analyzed and fared better in their statistics, though not by much.
"It is always shocking, though unfortunately not surprising, to see that studios continue to not give women opportunities to direct," Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood, told TheWrap in a statement. "This is a complex issue. The film business is layered with sexism so that when you peel away one layer, you still have many layers to get through."
A complex issue, indeed: In the 88 years since the Academy Awards launched, only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director (Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow). Out of 435 nominees across the decades, that's less than .9%. Just one woman, Bigelow, has ever actually taken home the gold statue in the category for The Hurt Locker.
Hollywood has shown some effort to change the game, such as the 2014 hiring of Stacey Snider as the co-CEO of Fox, a landmark position, but it's not changing nearly fast enough. As TheWrap reports, "aside from Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni’s Kung Fu Panda 3, the DreamWorks Animation hit which Fox distributed...the studio has not released a single movie with a female director since Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum’s Ramona and Beezus in 2010."
Considering the outcry over the industry's continuing lack of diversity, it's baffling that two of the largest Hollywood studios haven't responded to the demand — nay, need — for hiring more women behind the camera (and that's not even taking into account the oft-disappointingly minimized, sexualized, or even whitewashed on-screen representation of female characters.)
Overall, the statistics are alarming and point to a broader issue in our entertainment-media culture: If women aren't being encouraged and hired to create films now, who will be there to inspire a future generation of female filmmakers?
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