"This is absolutely wrong."
Hollywood has a white male filmmaker problem.
Just ask white male filmmaker Michael Moore.
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.
"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.
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.
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.