The new report, titled 2020 Hollywood Diversity Report, which is a product of the division of social sciences at UCLA and is co-sponsored by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, studied the top films from 2018 and 2019 and determined that while there is an increase in the number of acting jobs for people of color and women in front of the camera, there is a lack of diversity in jobs people hold behind the scenes and at the executive level at some production companies and studios.
“Studios need to do a lot of things all at once for things to really change. We think there are five critical elements. One is making sure their company vision statements and worldviews reflect the modern realities of the diversity of audiences and the very real and exciting opportunities that come when the people working for you reflect that diversity. They should expand the places they tap for hiring talent, using diversity databases already in existence and making new connections," Darnell Hunt, dean of the division of social sciences at UCLA and co-author of the Hollywood Diversity Report, told Fox News.
"Amplifying women, especially women of color, is a critical step. We see that when women have leadership roles, diversity increases. Normalizing pay, especially at lower entry-level is important too, as many people from marginalized racial backgrounds can’t afford to take low or nonpaying internships or entry-level jobs that will help them get a foot in the door. And overall there should be a structure in place within industry units that rewards creators and leaders for how inclusive their projects and teams are," he added.
The report begs the question: Is the representation needle really moving or is this a superficial Band-Aid to ease audiences' concerns?
In 2019, according to the numbers gathered from 145 films, women had 44.1 percent of lead acting roles and 40.2 percent of the total cast and people of color had 27.6 percent of lead actors and 32.7 percent of all movie roles. In 2018, analytics from 139 films found that 41 percent of lead roles went to women and 26.6 percent to minorities.
In the directing space, only 7.1 percent of the directors of top-grossing films in 2018 were women and 19.3 percent were people of color. In 2019, the number ticked up 15.1 percent for women but fell for people of color to 14.4 percent.
And for screenwriting credits, in 2018, 14.8 percent were women and 10.4 percent were people of color. In 2019, writing credits went to 17.4 percent women and 13.9 percent to people of color.
"The Hollywood idea of diversity is very superficial," Dan Gainor, vice president for TechWatch, business and culture at the Media Research Center, told Fox News. "If the movie and TV industries want true diversity, they need to open themselves up to those who dare to think differently than Hollywood."
Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the UCLA report is its analysis of 11 major and mid-major studios. The numbers revealed that 91 percent of C-level (CEO, CMO, etc.) positions are held by white people and 82 percent are men.
In senior executive positions, white people hold 93 percent percent of the jobs and 80 percent are held by men.
“While we are slowly seeing more representation of diverse groups onscreen, the lack of diversity behind the camera is still ever-present," said Myasia Burns, content marketing manager at Midan Marketing, to Fox News. "We feel that absence most when directors, producers and writers try to tell stories that are not their own, which results in inauthentic storylines, unflattering angles and caricatures of marginalized groups.
"Diverse perspectives are integral to telling robust, compelling stories that connect with audiences without pandering to or patronizing the viewer. These nuances are especially important when you consider intersectionality and how fundamentally layered these stories can -- and should -- be," she added.