News // USC's ANNENBERG INCLUSION INITIATIVE RELEASES ANNUAL LOOK AT DIVERSITY IN FILM

The 2018 study finds there has been almost no change in the last decade.



The University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has released is annual investigation into film diversity, finding that there has been almost no change in the number of women, people of color, and LGBT characters depicted on screen through feature films in the last decade. Despite the actions of prominent groups, such as The Academy, to call for more diversity on screen, these results find that representation has barely changed.


Per a Entertainment Weekly report, the initiative has been looking into every speaking or named character shown on screen in the top 100 films for each year at the domestic box office since 2007 in order to compile a clear picture of the, hopeful, changes in representation. The totals of these characters includes over 48,000 across a total of 1,100 films. Only 31.8% of all speaking characters in 2017's top films were female. That displays an increase of only 1.9% since 2007.


Additionally, in 2017, 33 of the year's top 100 films featured a woman in a leading role or co-leading role. This is surprising since the year's top three highest-grossing films starred women: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Beauty and the Beast, and Wonder Woman.


In the study regarding race, 70.7% of all speaking characters were white. Only 12.1% were black characters. 6.2% were Hispanic or Latino characters. 4.8% were Asian characters. And, 1.7% were Middle-Eastern characters. In total, only 29.3% of speaking characters were from a "minority" character.


Though the characters representing minorities and women were low, characters sharing representation with the LGBT community were even more relenting. 81% of 2017's top 100 films had zero gay, lesbian, or bisexual characters. None of the top 100 films of 2017 had a transgender character.


As for the least represented overall, women of color and LGBT female characters were the ones lacking opportunities the most.


The report, which you can read in full here, also took a look at diversity behind the camera, finding only small amounts of women or people of color were behind the year's top films. Out of 1,100 films, only 53 were directed by women, only 64 were directed by people considered black, and only 38 were directed by Asian or Asian American helmers.


There are many plans in place by multiple outlets to help improve these statistics, but the results are fleeting in the current market. Television seems to be doing better at finding opportunities for minorities, in every sense of the term, with shows like Pose excelling. The report, as noted by Entertainment Weekly, insists all studios should add inclusion riders as part of modern contracts, additionally recommending adding five female speaking roles to every script to allow for better representation over the next few years.

© 2018 by Scottie Knollin.

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