Hollywood sees rise in women directors in 2020

However, the percentages in the 'Top 250 Films With No Women In Any Creative Role' is still staggering

AFP January 04, 2021


Women directors comprise 16% of film-makers calling the shots on the 100 highest-grossing Hollywood films in 2020, according to a study from the Center For The Study Of Women In Television And Film at San Diego State University. This is a 4% jump from 2019, and a dramatic 12% jump only two years ago.

“Women accounted for 16% of directors working on the top 100 grossing films in 2020, up from 12% in 2019 and 4% in 2018,” the study said, adding: “Women comprised 18% of directors working on the top 250 films in 2020, up from 13% in 2019 and 8% in 2018.”

“The percentages of women directing top 100 and top 250 films represent recent historic highs and also reflect two consecutive years of growth,” the seven-page study noted.

If one takes into account female technicians in other creative fields of film-making besides directors, who worked in the top 100 grossing Hollywood films of 2020, the figures are even better, according to the study available at the Center’s official website.

“Women comprised 21% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 100 grossing films in 2020, up from 20% in 2019. Women working in these roles on the top 250 grossing films experienced a slight increase from 21% in 2019 to 23% in 2020,” said the study.

Among the highest-grosser that opened in 2020 was Patty Jenkins’ Christmas release Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot, which was also one of the most-talked-about Hollywood releases of the year. That apart, Cate Shortland’s Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson, was ready for release in 2020 although the film is now scheduled to open in April this year owing to last year’s lockdown.

Last year also saw the release of Cathy Yan’s Birds Of Prey, starring Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez and Ewan McGregor. Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand, is another heroine-centric release made by a woman director that was much-talked-about.

In 2020, when there was a total closure of cinema theatres globally for most of the year owing to Covid lockdown, the number of women technicians involved with ‘Watched At Home’ films makes for interesting statistics, too.

Women accounted for 9% of directors working on the watched at home films, besides 12% of writers, 15% of executive producers, 31% of producers, 19% of editors, and 3% of cinematographers working on such films, said the study, which included films released digitally for the first time. Although there has been an upward swing in women being employed as technicians in Hollywood, there is still a long way to go.

The percentages in the Top 250 Films With No Women In Any Creative Role is still staggering. For instance, going by the study, 80% of films in the list had no women directors, 73% had no women writers, 4% had no women executive producers, 26% had no women producers, 72% had no women editors, 94% had no women cinematographers.

“The majority (67%) of films employed fewer than five women in the above roles,” the study concluded.

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