News Archive

March 05, 2020

Family films had as many women in lead roles as men for the first time, new study finds

Last year was a historic one for gender representation in family films. According to a new study from The Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, 2019 saw just as many female lead characters in family films as male lead characters.
In 2007, just 24% of family films featured female characters in lead roles. Last year, 48% of the 100 top-grossing family movies featured lead female characters. (For the purposes of the annual See Jane report, a family film was defined as any live-action or animated film that was rated G, PG or PG-13.) “Media images have a huge impact on how we see ourselves and judge our value,” Davis told CNN via email. “When you see someone like yourself reflected, you take in the message: ‘There’s someone like me, I must belong.’ This is why it’s vital for children to see — from the beginning — fictitious worlds that reflect the real world, which is half female and very diverse.” Read More…

February 24, 2020

Geena Davis: Leading the Fight for Gender Parity in Hollywood

Long before the #MeToo movement, the Oscar winner and BU alum founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Geena tells her story in Bostonia, Boston University’s Alumni Magazine.

Read the Bostonia article

February 19, 2020

Universal Teams With Geena Davis Institute, USC for Software to Increase Latinx Representation

Spellcheck for Bias will also be fine-tuned by industry advisers such as Kate del Castillo, America Ferrera’s company Harness and Will Packer Productions’ James Lopez. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has partnered with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group to pilot its “Spellcheck for Bias” digital tool, this time in order to help increase Latinx representation onscreen. Spellcheck for Bias, a collaboration between the Institute and USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, analyzes scripts, manuscripts and advertising briefs to create a breakdown of characters and dialogue by gender, race, LGBTQIA identity and disability. Read More…

February 14, 2020

Geena Davis Remembers Brad Pitt’s Audition for (Shirtless!) Thelma & Louise Role: ‘He Just Had It’

Brad Pitt hasn’t forgotten his roots. The actor, who picked up his first acting Oscar on Sunday, made sure to thank actress Geena Davis during his speech. While it might seem random to some, it was a sweet nod to his breakout role in 1991’s Thelma & Louise opposite the iconic actress. Speaking to PEOPLE about the role, Davis, 64, remembers being impressed by a fresh-faced Pitt, then 26. “He just has ‘it.’ I could tell when he was auditioning that he was super talented,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. Read More…

February 10, 2020

WGA Awards 2020: all the winners!

Geena Davis then presented the Paul Selvin Award for “Bombshell” to Charles Randolph. “Thank you. Geena and her institute [Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media] are tackling the gender gap smartly, with ferocity and reams of undisputable data,” said Randolph. “Whatever project you’re working on right now, imagine Geena coming over to your table tonight and saying ‘Where are we?’ Do not disappoint Geena Davis. Make Geena your conscience. Thank you WGA. I’m very proud to be one of you. I love how movies have stopped treating politics like a sacred liability. I love that the scene that made me think the most this year was two Barbies fighting about objectification in front of a mirror.” Read More…

February 08, 2020

The Ten Best TV Shows Adapted from Best Picture Nominees

Perhaps encouraged by the success of a show like Hannibal, somebody got it in their head that adapting The Exorcist for television would also work. The 1973 film scared the hell out of American moviegoers in its day, but was also such a respected work of cinema by director William Friedkin (not to mention a box-office smash) that the Oscars nominated it for Best Picture (it would lose to The Sting). The TV adaptation starred Geena Davis but focused on a pair of priests tracking murderous/demonic incidents. All told, it was pretty good, with a decent twist along the way, even if it only lasted two seasons. Read more…

February 07, 2020

‘Russell Crowe said don’t cry’: Nicole Kidman and others reflect on first Oscar

It happens in an instant: The envelope is opened, a name is called and the Oscar winner’s life and career are changed forever. To some, the first moments after an Academy Award win felt like an out-of-body experience – it came a shock, the memory is a blur, they felt disoriented. The supporting actress award was presented first in 1989, bringing Geena Davis to the stage at the top of the show. “I sort of can’t believe I have to go first,” Davis declared. Years later, she recalled being nervous about something else, too. “Oh, gosh, I was so shocked, and it all became a sort of blur. I just wandered up on stage and then Melanie Griffith kissed me. … She kissed me. And I remember thinking, ‘Oh, I bet I have lipstick on my face now.’ So, when I was giving my acceptance speech. I was like this,” Davis said, putting her hand to her cheek much like she had years earlier. “And people thought, ‘Oh, she’s shy’ or something. But I was actually like, ‘Oh, I have lipstick on.” Read more…

February 05, 2020

Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Foundation Unveils Development Program

The selected filmmakers will receive industry support and financial backing over the yearlong program. Eight female filmmakers have been selected to take part in an inaugural development program as part of Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Foundation, the organization said Wednesday, as part of an initiative to foster voices from underrepresented groups. The See It, Be It Filmmaker Fellowship, a joint program between Bentonville and the Coca-Cola Foundation, offers a yearlong program for eight Bentonville Film Festival alumni, who will receive resources from the industry. Read more…

February 04, 2020

How Geena Davis’ Groundbreaking Research is Helping Girls “See It” So They Can “Be It”

Calling all girls…quick, name your favorite show. How many lead characters are women or girls? How many look like you and your friends? How many of you would like that number to be higher? We thought so. Well, girls – you’re in luck. Geena Davis has your back. Realizing when her daughter was a toddler how many more male than female characters appeared in children’s TV and movies, Golden Globe and Oscar Award-winning actor Geena Davis (she recently received her second Oscar from the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for fighting gender bias in media) got to work. She started asking colleagues in the entertainment industry whether they were aware of a difference in the way male and female characters in children’s media were portrayed. Read More…

January 31, 2020

Despite progress in big-game ads, representation doesn’t match reality

For much of its existence, the NFL’s big game has been home to ads that featured action, comedy, and plenty of men. When women were featured at all, there was a good chance they’d be sporting a bikini. In short, the ads in what has become the nation’s biggest TV event were made by men, for men. To a certain kind of marketer, it made a certain kind of sense. The assumption was that the game was watched predominantly by men. But that’s no longer the case. According to Nielsen, women have accounted for 46% to 47% of total Super Bowl viewership from 2014 to 2018. But the advertising running during the game hasn’t caught up to the people watching it. Why does this matter? Equal representation isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good for business. In our ongoing work with The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, we found that marketing content on YouTube featuring female led and gender-balanced content attracted 30% more views than male-dominant videos, despite representing less than half of all the videos we studied. Read More…