Look Who's Talking MORE...

Speaking roles are incredibly coveted in Hollywood, but in most best picture winners, men talk a lot more than women... 

If you're an actor trying to break into Hollywood then you know you need to gather as many speaking roles as possible. This can be hard if you're a person of color, a woman, or any other marginalized human it can be next to impossible to find a speaking role on screen.

Does this have anything to do with the quality of a movie? 

Not necessarily. Of course, that's also all pretty subjective. Things are getting better, but the pervasive problem goes all the way to the top. And there's data to back it up.

 Michael Novogratz pointed out on Twitter that women had far fewer speaking roles than men in speaking roles given in Best Picture films. Look, we've covered how using the Bechdel test can generally improve your writing, or at least let you see outside of a certain preconceived notion of the world, but these statistics are staggering. 

Who Talks More In Best Picture Winners

 

Movies are supposed to be indicative of the world of the story. I'm not saying that we need to find more speaking roles for women in Saving Private Ryan or on the moon in something like First Man, but if you're going to tell a story, consider broadening the scope of the characters you normally see. 

There are a few years missing from the list, since 1991. They are 2003 and 2012.

The best picture winner in 2003 was Chicago. Women speak more in that movie, I assume. They also sing more. 

2012 was The Artist. Ha. 

While you can make excuses all day, the fact is that the burden is on creators to find and be the change they want to see within the industry itself. 

USC Annenberg put together a ton of data outlining how representation in movies remained so skewed between 2007-2016. 

USC- Anneberg Data 1
Credit: Inequality in 900 Popular Films

Here is some more data from the same study, showing that the sexy stereotype still defines the majority of female roles in movies and that people of color are vastly under-represented. 

Credit: Inequality in 900 Popular Films

There will always be exceptions to every rule, but before you write, think about the people in each scene. Think about the point of view of the story, and how you can truly represent the diverse and interesting world you live in every day. And work to incorporate more speaking roles for underrepresented people. Maybe even make a few of them your stars. 

Your back end, box office take, and civilization will thank you.

Female-driven films sell and make money

What do you think of this information? 

Are you working on a new script with a diverse and inclusive cast? 

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Your Comment

2 Comments

Cry me a river....... this inclusive BS is exhausting. Figure out your story and tell it the best you can. If you stop and go wait ... "we need our female lead to have an extra 100 words of dialog, or oh no... we need a black, LBGT female that is over 40, walks with a limp, is a vegan and from Tangiers" ..chances you will fail... be true to your story and let the chips fall where they may

February 26, 2019 at 6:22AM, Edited February 26, 6:23AM

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You're right but at the same time we need to change how we think story from the ground up. Whatever we say most of our inspiration, story wise are from story were white man were the lead. That doesn't mean we need to make ghostbuster with a full women cas... well you get my point. You don't need to add character or line but just to figure out the story that can be told from those point of view. Is it making your movie better or not ? It might, maybe not but it might. But the trend is actually going this way, so i don't think we need to get those red flag up. Time will do his thing.

February 26, 2019 at 8:10AM

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Wilton
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