Women Directed More Hollywood Movies In 2020 Than Ever Before

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A recent study proves that more films have had women directors in 2020 than ever before. Hollywood has been infamous for its lack of diversity. During the most recent Oscars ceremony, no women were nominated for best director even though major films with female directors like Little Women and The Farewell were directed by female directors Greta Gerwig and Lulu Wang, respectively. Fans and industry members alike have been demanding more diversity in Hollywood in regards to gender, race, and sexuality.  

2020 promised a slew of female-directed films. Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn directed by Cathy Yan, Mulan directed by Niki Caro, and Wonder Woman 1984 directed by Patty Jenkins were some of the biggest of those films. These were some of the most highly-anticipated films of the year. Due to movie theater closures, other female-directed films like Black Widow, The Eternals, and The Nightingale were postponed to 2021.

Director Patty Jenkins

The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University confirmed that more women have directed films in 2020 than ever before. Variety presented the results of their study. It revealed that 16% of 2020's top 100 grossing films were directed by women. The same study reported that women directors only made up 12% of those films in 2019 and only 4% in 2018. Dr. Martha Lauzen has conducted the same study for the past 20 years. Due to the unique circumstances in 2020, Dr. Lauzen also studied Digital Entertainment Group’s "Watched at Home Top 20 Chart." 19% of the directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers involved in this list were women.

The growth is exciting; however, Hollywood's release schedule was stunted by COVID-19 in 2020, and it is likely a contributing factor in this more favorable outcome. A majority of the blockbuster films that were supposed to be released this year were postponed. And of those postponed movies, most of the biggest titles, like No Time to Die, Godzilla vs Kong, and Dune were directed by men. 2020 didn't go as planned, and therefore, the results may not be 100% reflective of Hollywood's current climate.

However, the results project hope for 2021. Marvel and DC's effort to hire women directors has done wonders for gender inclusivity. Marvel had five of the top films in 2019 and both have become major players in the Hollywood industry. They used the power of their influence to raise up female directors, and it will likely have a lasting impact. At least one female director, Cate Shortland, will have her shining moment when Black Widow releases in 2021. Hopefully, the increase in female directors is a trend that will continue for years to come.