+

Hollywood has a white male filmmaker problem.

Just ask white male filmmaker Michael Moore.


Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images.

He played the numbers game to prove an important point about the people who make our movies.

And, as we all know, numbers are hard to argue with (because facts).

Across last year's top 100-performing films, just 1.9% were directed by women.

As The Hollywood Reporter noted, Moore threw out a sobering stat on Oct. 4, 2015, during a Q&A session at the New York Film Festival: A measly 1.9% of Hollywood's top-grossing movies were directed by women in 2014.

He got that (downright embarrassing) figure from a recent study by USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, which annually examines diversity in Hollywood.

Chart via USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

"This is absolutely wrong," Moore said, noting he's benefited from a broken system that favors those who look like him. "This is the most liberal of all industries, when you use the word 'industry' in this country, and for it to be so shamelessly white and male?"

“I'm not saying that just because I'm a liberal making a politically-correct statement; I'm saying it as a filmgoer and audience member. I'm missing out on her story. Their stories. That person. When you block out whole groups of film by that cinema, what are the great films that you and I are missing because their great voices can't be heard? I want to go to that movie. I want to hear that voice. I'm being denied that voice by a system that's sent out to give the reins to white men."

The good news is, Moore isn't alone in demanding that Hollywood evolve to better reflect the society it portrays.

The industry's diversity gaps are making waves right now, with several Hollywood heavyweights chiming in.

But not everyone's two cents have been well-received.

Viola Davis by Mark Davis/Getty Images. Emma Watson by Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images. Matt Damon by Niklas Halle'n/AFP/Getty Images.

After becoming the first black woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama series last month,Viola Davis used the historic moment to point out the lack of opportunity women of color face in Hollywood. Emma Watsonspoke out against sexism in the industry just last week, pointing to her own career to prove change is needed. (Of the 19 films she's acted in, only two have been directed by women.)

And Matt Damon threw in his two cents, too — although interrupting a successful black female director to explain what she gets wrong about diversityprobably wasn't the best approach to the issue — and he's certainly caught a fair amount of the flak because of it.

With all of this chatter about Hollywood's white male problem, is anything getting better?

In short, yes — there are hopeful signs we're making progress on the diversity front.

That USC report I noted earlier? It points to "encouraging" signs that women are taking on (and finding success in) more influential roles in Hollywood — take, for instance, the slew of female-led flicks that have killed it at the box office this year.

The cast of "Mad Max: Fury Road," a film with a feminist storyline that featured women in prominent roles and dominated the box office earlier this year. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

And in May 2015, the ACLU called for an investigation into gender discrimination within the film industry, which may be looked into by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this month. Depending on how that investigation is handled, some serious shake-ups in the way Hollywood does business could be unfolding soon.

In the meantime, you can help push the industry forward.

Support projects by and starring women. Stay educated on the daunting realities that persist for women (as well as people of color and those who are LGBT) in the industry. And speak up when a loved one pulls a Matt Damon and says something about inclusion that just ... doesn't add up. Your voice — and the movie you choose to see in theaters this weekend — does make a difference.

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

True

Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

Keep ReadingShow less

Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

Keep ReadingShow less