A new study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Time’s Up found that film criticism is dominated by white men, with 78% of reviews from 2015 to 2017 written by male critics and 83% written by white critics.
The report reviewed reviews of the 300 highest-grossing films from 2015-2017 posted on Rotten Tomatoes to gauge the gender and race/ethnicity of critics, including how this varies by film distributor and the publications.
Nearly 60,000 reviews were recorded in the report, which found that non-white women wrote just 3.7%, white female reviews wrote 17%, and non-white men wrote 13%.
“This study reveals that the inequality we see among critics is not a one-time problem,” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder and director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. “These are stable patterns that demonstrate that the conversation surrounding films and their value is not inclusive.”
Perhaps even more glaring was the study’s finding that nearly half of the 300 films studied had no reviews from a single woman of color. Similarly, 45.4% of the 108 films directed by women and 35.1% of the 57 films with a POC actor in a lead role were not reviewed by any female critics of color.
Actress Brie Larson, who will star in “Captain Marvel” next year, praised the study for showing why representation in film criticism is essential.
“It’s important for the entertainment industry to embrace the diverse voices of film criticism that already exist and ensure that the critics who review films represent the audiences who see them,” Larson said. “We can all do our part to create access and opportunity for prospects who have long missed these conversations.”
Study comes as Time’s Up organization continues to grow CRITICALa voluntary database of female and underrepresented entertainment writers and critics.