December 15, 2017
Oscars 2018

Michael Moore's Picture of Hollywood is Worth a Thousand Words

This pretty much says it all.

Firebrand documentarian Michael Moore is no stranger to controversy, or to letting his opinions be known. He has faced plenty of criticism, even within our industry, famously getting booed on the Academy Awards stage during his 2003 acceptance speech for Bowling for Columbine, calling out George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq.

Today, he's turned his condemnatory lens squarely on the Academy and the industry itself, with this striking Instagram image, which he calls "My poster of the 100 directors of the Best Picture of the Year for 100 years, 1916-2015."

Michael Moore instagram
Credit: Instagram: @michaelfmoore

Notice anything, um, similar about these folks? Yeah, so did Moore. Never one to mince words, he begins his manifesto-like caption with this observation: "This is 100 years of abuse. Abuse = shutting down the voices of the majority gender so their stories don’t get told. This is the industry I work in. Shameful."

Moore goes on to claim that groups like the Women's March are holding more of a mirror up to Hollywood than ever before, with the proclamation "As Washington and Lafayette encircled and trapped the British at Yorktown, the old boy system in the film/TV/media business can no longer stand."

We would add that it's not just a lack of women that this image lays so bare, but a glaring absence of people of color. Again, Moore does not hold back: "Have you stopped for a minute to wonder why most films suck so bad these days? Same tired uninspired white dudes telling the same tired uninspired white dude stories over and over and over again. Borrrrring."

Although "the problem is staring right at you in this poster," Moore claims that "the solution is simple and unconditional and mandatory at this point." And it really is. Hire more women and POC, greenlight more women and POC, seek out and support the projects of more women and POC, and for goodness sake, don't turn a blind eye when you suspect that harassment or sexual misconduct is happening on your sets.

Although Moore excoriates the industry in his comments, he ends on a high note, stating "How ironic and how wonderful that, IMHO, the two best films of this past year were directed by a woman (Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird) and a black man (Jordan Peele for Get Out). And the next three are by a Mexican (Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water), a French woman (Agnes Varda for Faces Places) and a white dude...from Ireland (Martin McDonagh for 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).

We agree whole-heartedly with Moore's last words: More of THIS is a win for everyone.      

Featured image from Clint Eastwood's 'Million Dollar Baby,' 2005 Academy Award winner for Best Picture.

Your Comment

13 Comments

What a hack. You're part of the problem too you bum. I expect him to do the right thing and vacate his spot as a director for a woman or a POC. Ya right, he'll keep making movies as long as he keeps getting funding. And talk about biting the hand that feeds. I bet he gets the vast majority of his funding from boring white dudes. "Same tired uninspired white dudes telling the same tired uninspired white dude stories over and over and over again." Ya, that's totally not racist / sexist at all.

December 15, 2017 at 3:10PM

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He's right when it comes to perspective and telling new stories. Give people a chance and they will amaze you. Moonlight, 12 years a slave, Get Out, Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, Gravity, Birdman, The Revenant... All great work. Equality is not about denying talented (white) men an opportunity, it's about not denying talent opportunity full stop regardless of gender, race or creed. It would be a great loss to the art of film. The examples are right there!

December 15, 2017 at 4:28PM, Edited December 15, 4:56PM

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I agree completely. When there is truly equal opportunity we will all be better off for it. For that to happen, we need white men to stand up and demand it alongside POC and women. Michael Moore is standing up, as he always does, for what is right.

December 15, 2017 at 5:44PM

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Surely another way to approach this is to say that the Oscars (and other award ceremonies) are just a load of bollocks. It's not like it's democratic; it's not audiences who vote for best picture, best director, etc. There shouldn't be so much weight given to these awards; they only shore up the kind of attitudes and behaviour that are so problematic. What a screwed-up industry, just ridiculous from top to bottom and back again.

December 16, 2017 at 4:05AM, Edited December 16, 4:05AM

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You do have a point there. How many times do people joke about nominations being 'bought'. Where there is smoke there is fire? I can remember everytime a joke like that was made during the Golden Globes the shows director would cut to a shot of Harvey Weinstein. Haha, makes you wonder.

December 16, 2017 at 12:14PM

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Clearly, there is plenty of room for women and POC to find audiences for their stories, and they should be given the opportunity to do so. My question is, has Michael Moore ever put his $50 million net worth up and hired women or POC filmmakers himself? NO. Also, demeaning the folks who created the art form and then insulting everyone who is a "white male" director is absolutely not helping get them on your side. You don't want Michael Moore championing this.

December 16, 2017 at 8:48PM

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Sorry, but I don't see how being a woman or black automatically qualifies you for an Academy award. Making a great movie makes you worth of an award, not your gender or color.

December 17, 2017 at 5:00AM

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Pavel Tsvetkov
Producer/Director/Writer
67

I don't think anyone else sees that either. The point is not that women should receive awards because they're women, but that there are numerous ways that women are discouraged from entering the industry or having key roles, massively reducing the chances of a female oscar-winning director.

December 20, 2017 at 1:15PM

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Michael Moore is more than a millimeter off. The biggest problem is that Hollywood is a closed system. That's why people use the phrase, "breaking in," when referring to the film industry.

Why should you have to "break in?" Why should it be an exclusive club that's closed to new members? Why not let everyone in?

Harvey Weinstein got away with assaulting women for decades because he was one of the so-called gatekeepers, the powerful people who determine who gets in to the industry and who stays in.

Unless the film industry cuts the crap with using gatekeepers, nothing will change.

December 17, 2017 at 2:42PM

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Glenn Bossik
Videographer
536

Nonsense article. Equality of opportunity exists. Woman and minorities need to want to be Directors, not made to be to boast numbers and representation for the touchy-feely such as Mike Moore and the writer of this piece. The industry is dominated by men in directing roles because men have generally gravitated toward it. Like the major sciences. Mainly men. Yet Woman aren't being discouraged or excluded by show of females leaving Uni with more degrees than their male counterparts. Sexist? No. Looking at the past, there have been many female Directors, as far back as Alice Guy-Blanche (1896) Also people of colour have representation with Oscar Micheaux (accomplished film maker and author) 1918. It's not always sexism or racisim every time there is disparity of numbers. It's just lazy outrage speak. Do we call it sexism when there are over a hundred film festivals targeting woman and none targeting only men? No. We should though because it excludes men right? Public outcry and hypocrisy of opinion only knows one enemy. When people in these groups do well they are clearly rewarded as was highlighted. Getting a little bit tired of white men being blamed for everything. That's what I find boring.

December 17, 2017 at 3:32PM

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Mike Murphy
Film maker
114

I am starting to get pissed off about all of the complaining. It's like they are dismissing the work that so many have done. Because they did not win a Oscar or the movie was not a blockbuster?

December 18, 2017 at 1:17PM

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Tommy Hileman
Film Maker
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With respect, the lazy thinking happens when we assume that male-dominated industries simply show that men have taken an opportunity and women have not. I'm afraid University graduation just doesn't show what working life is like for men and women. Everyone can see that top jobs are usually awarded by men, to men - which is the point being made here.

I don't think it discredits the achievements of white men in the slightest to acknowledge that the film industry is much harder for other groups. And women-focussed awards/festivals aren't referred to (by most) as sexist because they are a drop in the ocean.

December 20, 2017 at 1:38PM

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Though this is TECHNICALLY all true, this "picture" would be the same for EVERY industry. I mean, let's put things in real perspective OK? It wasn't until 1920 !) that women in the US could even vote in elections. Segregation was the law of much of the land well until the 1960s. In that light, what is actually more relevant is the last 50 years, not 100.

That time frame doesn't make it any better of course, though it is more accurate of the evolution of society and the levers of power. Any way you want to look at it, it's OBVIOUS that there is a major disparity in opportunity happening here. Moore is a blowhard no doubt. But it doesn't mean what he's pointing out isn't a problem.

You simply can't get by with the excuse that the way things happen in Hollywood, or most of the business world is all a meritocracy. The big producers choose who they will see or listen to for pitches. They choose who gets the money and who directs. They choose what scripts will go forward and which won't. There have been MANY great movies made by women and people of color. Look at the year Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing came out: 1989. Now look over all the nominees. He got NOTHING, nor did the film. Not even nominated! Instead they nominated stuff like Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors?...

December 21, 2017 at 4:08PM

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Douglas Bowker
Animation, Video, Motion-Graphics
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