In Hollywood, diversity is in sharp decline: “Today, everyone is trained to detect racist stereotypes, but recognizing them is not fighting them! »

The figures are clear. In 2023, barely 12% of the directors credited in the credits of the hundred highest-grossing American feature films were women. Twenty-six were from “underrepresented ethnic or racial groups.” Among them, four were women of color. In the midst of the Hollywood awards season, which will culminate with the Oscars ceremony on March 10, these results have the effect of a frankly lukewarm shower for those who, in the wake of the #metoo movements in 2017 and #OscarsSoWhite in 2015, had imagined the American film industry capable of profound reform to make room for a more feminine, more diverse, more representative cohort of artists and producers. The success of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie , the first film directed by a woman to cross the billion-dollar box office mark, serves as an alibi for a sector where diversity is still barely a feature. facade.

Published at the beginning of January, this study comes from a research group working to quantify efforts to include minorities in cinema: within the communications and journalism department of the University of Southern California (USC), in Los Angeles. Angeles, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative (AII) has been looking at reality since 2008 and confronting it with the pious wishes of communicators.

Assisted by two hundred students, fifteen full-time employees analyze an average of fifteen hundred films and several hundred series each year, to paint a picture of the industry’s progress, stagnation and regression by focusing on specific subjects. Representation of children and adolescents, people with disabilities, Muslims, members of the LGBTQIA + communities, people aged 60 and over or women on television and in cinema, but also the presence of minorities behind the camera, whether whether as a director, producer, film music composer or special effects manager… Nothing escapes them.

Quantity and quality of performances

The strength of their method lies in the choice to focus on the quantities, but also on the quality of these representations. In 2023, a study entitled “Representation of Native Americans through 1600 popular films” celebrated in its own way the release of Martin Scorsese’s latest feature film, Killers of the Flower Moon, which looks back on dispossession by the American state of the land and oil wealth of the Osage tribe, putting sixteen years of American cinema under the microscope.

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