Alejandro González Iñárritu accepts the Feature Film Nomination Plaque for ‘The Revenant’ from actor Leonardo DiCaprio onstage at the 68th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on February 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
By most accounts, these men have made two of the best films of the year, and their effort deserves to be recognized with nominations for Best Director at the 88th Academy Awards.
But they won’t be.
Those directors are Pete Docter and Charlie Kaufman. They’re about to get snubbed.
Screencrush’s Mike Sampson published an absolutely fascinating account of why, time and again, talented directors are being discounted in the Oscars. Here’s one of my favorite parts, below.
Many years ago, when animated films were released more sparingly, there may have been some justification in the DGA and the Academy to keep animation and live-action separate. But as animation becomes a more dominant art form both critically and commercially (five of the 20 highest grossing films of 2015 were animated films),they deserve to be treated as equals. They speak to us, move us, and change our lives just like any other film out there.
You’ll want to read the whole article for yourself, trust me, but here are some highlights (below the cut):
The ACLU’s announcement spurred on a conversation that had been brewing for years, highlighted by a recent L.A. Weekly article titled “How Hollywood Keeps Out Women.” Filmmakers even began to take sides on whether the Directors Guild of America was doing enough to promote diversity.
Lexi Alexander is a prominent figure in this debate, a filmmaker best known for directing Marvel’s Punisher: War Zone and British soccer hooligan drama Green Street. Her Twitter presence is a rare glimpse into a world that most of us only experience through a haze of PR obfuscation, revealing hair-raising stories about discrimination in Hollywood.
Shortly after the ACLU launched its petition, Alexander shared her views on sexist hiring practices, her support for file-sharing sites like the Pirate Bay, the dangers of crowdfunding, and why she’d love to direct a Ms. Marvel adaptation starring Kamala Khan.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, recipient of the Feature Film Nomination Plaque for “The Revenant”, pose in the press room during the 68th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on February 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
I know this came out a few months ago, but I just discovered it and still feel it’s still very relevant stuff on TV and diversity hiring in terms of directors today. I actually had no idea that the DGA released an annual report on this topic, but it’s great to see that they do this every year, so kudos to them. Note: this list doesn’t include cancelled shows or pilots, and here’s some important info on that:
“Although the DGA does not include shows that have been cancelled in its lists, there are several series that ran for multiple seasons but ended production this season that deserve to be commended for their diversity in hiring, including Tyler Perry’s House of Payne (100%); Hung (60%); Hawthorne (56%); So Random! (54%);The Killing (46%); Eureka (38%); Make It or Break It (38%); CSI: Miami (37%); and In Plain Sight (31%).
Shows that are primarily directed by only one or two directors for the entire season [The Big Bang Theory; Delocated; Eastbound & Down; The Exes; Happily Divorced; Hot In Cleveland; How I Met Your Mother; It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia; Last Man Standing; The League; Louie; Mike & Molly; Rules of Engagement; Two And A Half Men; Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse; and Wilfred] were included in the overall data, but are not singled out in the lists above.”
Some of the figures and shows actually really surprised me, like I didn’t know Veep had 0% of minority/women directors hired for the 2011-2012 season, Community only hired 9% of minority/women directors for fewer than 15% of the episodes while Nikita ranked at an even lower percentage at 5%.
Some personal surprises for the higher figures as part of “DGA’s Best Of List” for shows that hired minority/women directors for at least 30% of episodes, included 90210’s 42%, Girls’ 44% and Awkward’s 50%. Wasn’t surprised at some of the figures though, like Scandal’s 67% and The Walking Dead’s 53%.
Ughhh the overall numbers sure are dismal though :/
Oh, and for any aspiring PoC/WoC/MoC/minority writers, producers, directors, and so on who have pointed out problematic gender/race representation in the media and then have gotten slammed by someone who says the usual BS comment, “Well then, why don't you go out there and write/produce/direct your own content,” yeahh…. well you might want to redirect them to these figures and explain how diversity hiring in terms of minority/women directors [remember that this is just for the episodic TV field] obviously comes across institutional/structural problems like this.
I know this isn’t totally representative of every TV show out there and I recommend reading the methodology on this first, but I’m positive that a good chunk of these shows are on top 20 for Nielsen Ratings every week, so definitely some food for thought…
LOS ANGELES – The Directors Guild of America today released a report analyzing the ethnicity and gender of directors hired to direct primetime episodic television across broadcast, basic cable and premium cable.
The DGA analyzed more than 3,100 episodes produced in the 2011-2012 network television season and the 2011 cable television season from more than 190 scripted television series. The report showed that Caucasian males directed 73% of all episodes; Caucasian females directed 11% of all episodes; minority males directed 13% of all episodes and minority females directed 4% of all episodes. Among one-hour series, Caucasian males directed 76% of all episodes, and in half-hour series, Caucasian males directed 69% of all episodes.
In designing the parameters for this year’s report, the DGA made several changes to its methodology and data collection to improve accuracy and make it easier to compare data to other years. These changes included defining specific start and end dates for each television season production cycle; capturing more DGA-covered episodes; implementing additional automated calculation procedures; and clarifying, in cooperation with the companies, the status of directors whose ethnicity or gender had previously been identified as “unknown.”
As a result of these improvements, the DGA was able to improve the data for the previous 2010-2011 television season to more accurately report the statistics. The data now shows that in the 2010-2011 television season, Caucasian males directed 72% of all episodes (not 77% as had been reported); Caucasian females directed 11% of all episodes (unchanged from the 11% that had been reported); minority males directed 14% of all episodes (up from the 11% that had been reported); and minority females directed 3% of all episodes (up from the 1% that had been reported). The changes in data are a result of capturing nearly 300 additional episodes for the season and more accurately identifying the diversity status of the directors.
Comparing figures for 2011-2012 with figures for 2010-2011, this year’s report shows that the percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian males increased slightly, from 72% to 73%; the percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian females remained the same at 11%; the percentage of episodes directed by male minorities decreased from 14% to 13%; and the percentage of episodes directed by female minorities increased, from 3% to 4%.
The shows highlighted below are from major production companies ABC, CBS, Fox, HBO, NBC, Sony, Warner Bros. and other production companies whose shows appear on broadcast, basic cable and premium cable networks. They do not include series that have been cancelled, and pilots are not included in the statistics.
Following are the shows with the worst records of hiring women and minority directors for the 2011-2012 television season:
Title (Production Company) – Percentage of Episodes by Women or Minority Directors:
Chemistry (Chemistry Series/Cinemax) – 0%
Dallas (Horizon Scripted Television/TNT) – 0%
The Inbetweeners (On Site Productions/MTV) – 0%
Leverage (Leverage Productions/TNT) – 0%
Retired at 35 (King Street Productions/TV Land) – 0%
Raising Hope (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/FOX) – 36%
Smash (NBC Studios/NBC) – 36%
Sons of Anarchy (Pacific 2.1 Entertainment Group/FX) – 36%
Austin & Ally (It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney Channel) – 33%
CSI: NY (CBS Broadcasting/CBS) – 33%
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC Studios/ABC) – 33%
Fairly Legal (Open 4 Business Productions/USA) – 33%
Body of Proof (FTP Productions/ABC) – 31%
Psych (Universal Network Television/USA) – 31%
Alphas (Open 4 Business Productions/SyFy) – 30%
Falling Skies (Turner North Center Productions/TNT) – 30%
Franklin & Bash (Woodridge Productions/TNT) – 30%
Torchwood: Miracle Day (Bad Wolf Productions/Starz!) – 30%
Although the DGA does not include shows that have been cancelled in its lists, there are several series that ran for multiple seasons but ended production this season that deserve to be commended for their diversity in hiring, including Tyler Perry’s House of Payne (100%); Hung (60%); Hawthorne (56%); So Random! (54%);The Killing (46%); Eureka (38%); Make It or Break It (38%); CSI: Miami (37%); and In Plain Sight (31%).
Shows that are primarily directed by only one or two directors for the entire season [The Big Bang Theory; Delocated; Eastbound & Down; The Exes; Happily Divorced; Hot In Cleveland; How I Met Your Mother; It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia; Last Man Standing; The League; Louie; Mike & Molly; Rules of Engagement; Two And A Half Men; Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse; and Wilfred] were included in the overall data, but are not singled out in the lists above.
While some individual shows appear to have made an effort to increase diversity in hiring, and more shows hired enough women and minority directors to earn a spot on our “Best Of” list, overall statistics for episodic television indicate that little has changed since last year. Too many shows failed to reach even the low threshold of hiring women or minorities for at least 15% of episodes in a season.
The Guild’s African American, Asian, Latino and Women’s Committees continue to hold meetings and networking events with producers, networks and studio representatives to introduce talented directors to key producers and television executives. Additionally, several diversity programs that were established years ago by production companies, at the urging of the Guild, continue to give women and minority directors exposure to executive producers and others who make hiring decisions, but these programs have not yet made any demonstrable difference.
Over the past two years, DGA executives and members of the Diversity Task Force held more than a dozen meetings with production companies specifically to address diversity in hiring. The meetings highlighted the fact that many companies feel more comfortable continuing to hire directors with whom they are already familiar, perhaps explaining why diversity statistics have remained relatively stagnant.
“Our industry has to do better,” said Paris Barclay, the DGA’s First Vice President and Co-Chair of the Diversity Task Force of the DGA National Board. (Barclay is also an executive producer for Sons of Anarchy and won a DGA Award and two Emmys for directing NYPD Blue along with multiple other nominations) “In this day and age, it’s quite disappointing that so many shows failed to hire even a single woman or minority director during the course of an entire season – even shows whose cast and crew otherwise is notably diverse. And, ‘We just don’t know anybody,’ doesn’t cut it anymore – the pool of talented and experienced women and minority directors grows every year, and too many of these qualified, capable directors are still overlooked.”
The DGA maintains a contact list of experienced women and minority directors to make it easier for producers making hiring decisions. The list can be obtained by any production company by contacting the DGA.
“Like any director working today, I started out when somebody took a shot at hiring me,” said Lesli Linka Glatter, Board Member and Co-Chair of the Diversity Task Force of the DGA National Board. (Glatter won a DGA Award and was nominated for an Emmy for directing Mad Men, and this year has directed episodes ofThe Newsroom, Boss, True Blood, Homeland, Walking Dead and Nashville.) “It’s how we all start out – male, female, white or minority. As somebody who has been an executive producer on a television series, I can tell you that increasing director diversity is as simple as hiring more women and more people of color. It’s time that every producer, every showrunner, every person responsible for making hiring decisions in episodic television take a careful and honest look at their hiring practices and ask themselves how they can do better.”
In last year’s report, the DGA verified statistics for all shows with representatives of the employers. One issue that arose after the release of the report was related to the series Burn Notice, which had been incorrectly placed on the “Worst Of” list based on statistics that had been verified by the employer. Further investigation showed that the error occurred when only the first half of Burn Notice’s episodes for the season were analyzed; basic cable production cycles often differ significantly from traditional broadcast network production cycles, one of the reasons that the DGA changed its methodology in this year’s report to specifically define start and end dates for production cycles. The improved methodology shows that in the 2010 basic cable production cycle, Burn Notice had 18 episodes and hired women or minority directors 28% of the time. In the 2011 production cycle examined in this year’s report, Burn Notice hired women or minority directors to direct two of their 18 episodes for a total percentage of 11%.
The DGA compiled the statistics for this report from information provided by the production companies to the DGA pursuant to the requirements of the collective bargaining agreement for episodes produced during the 2011-2012 season, and then validated the data directly with the shows themselves, and then again with a labor relations representative at the production company if available. A few shows failed to verify their statistics, in which case the DGA made its best effort to validate the data with someone at the production company level.