Monday, August 24, 2009

Demographics Of The Hollywood Director

As of this year, more than 90 percent of Hollywood directors are male.

The New York Times points out the pros...

"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."

and the cons...

"Directors who are overwhelmingly of the same sex and ethnicity can hardly be expected to tap all of the cinematic potential in a rich and roiling humanity."

...of white male directors getting most of the gigs in Hollywood.

Oh, did we mention the pros again?


  1. Interesting read. However, that article ignores one simple fact about "Pelham." No one went to see it because it's been done to death, AND was done better in the original movie with Walter Matthau. Yes, Matthau trumps Denzel in this case, sorry.

  2. One thing I think that's interesting about that there movin' picture bizness, is that many women directors make action movies, or movies that don't, inherently, appeal to focus group approved female interests. Kathryn Bigelow and Catherine Hardwicke (not counting Twilight) spring immediately to mind, as well as Julie Taymor-- though she's a bit more "woman" friendly, I guess. It's either them or the Nora Ephrons who remake the same romantic comedy over and over and over. It'll be interesting to see if Bigelow gets nominated for The Hurt Locker; I believed she'd be the first woman nominated. She won't win, of course, the ceiling busters never do (see Sidney Poitier, or, from politics, Hillary Clinton).

    The other aspect of this, naturally, is the inevitable race issue. In that regard, I'm not really sure what's going on. It seems like most of the women directors have figured out how to appeal to mass audiences (re: Men), but racially diverse directors (other than Asians/Asian Americans and, for a couple movies, anyway, Shyamalan)don't seemed to have cracked the mass audience (re: White) code. Specifically, black directors seem to only make "black movies." Granted, there's Spike Lee, but he's the exception. One could argue the Hughes Brothers, but their one foray into, ahem, white territory (From Hell) wasn't very well received (nor, really, should it have been) and their next movie is going to be The Book of Eli, which looks to be another attempt to crossover, using the mass audience approved Denzel Washington as bait. Come to think of it, even Spike Lee has trouble crossing over when his movies don't star Denzel or Ed Norton...

    I'm rambling. Sorry. ;)