Los Angeles Times

Hollywood hired more black directors but fewer women in 2018, leading 'intersectional' study reveals

In the final days of 2018, as Stacy L. Smith and her pioneering team of researchers at USC Annenberg were putting the final touches on one of the most comprehensive and intersectional reports on inclusion in Hollywood to date, a historic finding in the data sent a ripple of excitement through the lab.

Their research found that in 2018, a year of record-breaking box office, more black filmmakers - 16, to be exact - directed films among Hollywood's 100 highest-grossers than ever before in the study's 12-year span, representing 14.3 percent of top directors. That marks a nearly threefold increase over 2017's six black directors and a 100 percent increase from 2007, the first year Smith's group began charting inclusion, when eight black directors helmed top Hollywood films.

Those numbers signify "a huge jump," Smith said Thursday afternoon, reviewing the final data at the headquarters of USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the industry-leading think tank she founded and directs from a second-floor office on campus. "For the first time in 12 years, we're seeing a historical shift in the hiring practices of black directors,"

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