Breaking: Hollywood Dominated By White Male Directors

The New York Times' Michael Cieply scanned the big studio schedules and reports that "Hollywood directors are pretty much what they have always been." White. And male. Women & Hollywood's Melissa Silverstein says: "No shit, Sherlock."

Of the 85 or so live action flicks released by the big studios in 2009, 93% were directed by white men. And those dudes hover at around 45 years old.

Cieply writes:

Box-office revenue has been growing, and theater attendance has held steady for years in the face of extreme competition from other media. Revenue from DVD sales has been drifting, but there is no evidence that Hollywood has lost its grip on the audience.

And then:

Uniformity would seem to shut out potential viewers and revenue. But there is really no way to be sure whether sales would go up or down if the studio directing pool were more diverse.

Silverstein counters:

That sentence reeks of discrimination. Same shit was said before women got the right to vote. Same shit was said before African Americans got the right to vote. Same shit was said before we had a women Supreme Court justice. Sane shit was said before we got an African American president.

In addition, Cieply also actually argues that it's kind of a good thing that only white guys get to direct:

In one respect, homogeneity among its film directors might actually help Hollywood in a business sense. Studio films, year in and year out, continue to pull in crowds worldwide at least in part because they look, sound and feel like what has gone before.

Funny, I'd say that homogeneity is what was killing the movies, for me. Because the bland claptrap like He's Just Not That Into You, Bride Wars and New In Town ("like Fargo with vomit") isn't drawing me to theaters; and neither are the supposedly tried and true formulas based on toys (GI Joe; Transformers). In any case, a lack of diversity "because it's always been that way" is a bad reason. Come on, the country's demographic makeup is changing. Why wouldn't the heart of its entertainment industry change?

When you look at the casts of popular reality shows like American Idol, Project Runway and America's Next Top Model, you see a hell of a lot of diversity: Women of different ages; men and women who are black, Asian, Latino and gay. It makes white male-dominated Hollywood (and the white "A-list" stars) seem outdated. So how could diversity hurt Hollywood?

As Karyn Kusama, the part-Japanese director of Girlfight and upcoming thriller Jennifer's Body tells the Times: "In so many parts of the business, the numbers have changed. What do we stand to lose by accepting that homogeneity of vision?" The answer is obvious: We lose ourselves.

See Any Similarities in These Directors? [NY Times]
Studio Films Are Directed By White Men [Women & Hollywood]