Women obliterated barriers in Hollywood last year: Katniss Everdeen topped the domestic box office in the female-co-produced The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; Disney’s animated smash Frozen redefined the princess genre with Jennifer Lee as one of two directors at the helm; and two films from power producer Megan Ellison (American Hustle and Her) were just nominated for Best Picture.
But take one step back from the A-list and the picture isn’t so rosy. According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film’s Celluloid Ceiling report, 2013 marked a dismal year for women in behind-the-scenes jobs on the top 250 grossing movies. Filmmakers with XX chromosomes accounted for only 16 percent of the directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers on those films — a drop of 1 percent from 1998. And only 6 percent of the top films last year were helmed by women, down from 9 percent. Other than Kathryn Bigelow, still the only woman to win an Oscar for directing (The Hurt Locker), no female directors come close to the name recognition of Spielberg or Scorsese. The question is: Why?
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