‘Woman King’ Tops First Inclusion List For Achievements in Cinematic Representation

Dr. L Stacy Smith teamed with USC Annenberg and the Adobe Foundation to find the 100 most inclusive theatrical releases between 2019 and 2022

Viola Davis and John Boyega star in The Woman King.
Viola Davis and John Boyega star in The Woman King.

The Inclusion List, courtesy of Dr. L Stacy Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in collaboration with the Adobe Foundation, will show the world who is doing best in terms of representation in theatrically released movies.

Appearing at www.Inclusionlist.org, The Inclusion List is a new, data-driven ranking that provides the 100 most inclusive theatrical releases from 2019 to 2022. Topping the list among all such movies was Gina Prince-Bythewood’s acclaimed and crowd-pleasing “The Woman King.”

The Inclusion List, appearing at www.inclusionlist.org, is a new data-driven ranking that provides the titles of the 100 most inclusive theatrically released films from 2019 to 2022. The website also highlights the top distributors associated with the movies on the list, names eight individuals as the top producers and highlights two top directors for inclusion across the time evaluated.

“With The Inclusion List, our goal is to celebrate the films, filmmakers, and companies who are supporting inclusion on screen and behind the camera,” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Founder. “This is the first rigorous, quantitative assessment of hiring practices across almost 400 movies and more than 900 producers, over 350 directors, and 16 distributors.”

“The results are clear,” she continued, “Universal Pictures, A24, Will Packer, James Lopez, Kevin Feige, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Lulu Wang and the others on the list are ushering in a new era for inclusion through the choices they have made and the stories they have told. We are excited to showcase and recognize those efforts.”

Universal Pictures

To form the list, the research team scored 376 theatrical films across twenty inclusion indicators, with the highest-scoring movies receiving top honors. The indicators ranked gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disability, and age representation for cast in leading and all speaking roles. Behind the scenes, gender and race/ethnicity were assessed across ten positions to create a crew score. Those ten positions were: Director, Writer, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, Composer, Costume Designer, Production Designer, Casting Director, and First Assistant Director.

More than 14,000 speaking characters and over 5,500 crew members were evaluated in the process of compiling the Inclusion List. The Inclusion List draws entirely from data to create a cast and crew score based on actual hiring practices and story elements. The films, distributors, and producers that made the cut appear based on a demonstrated record of accomplishment for inclusion.

“The Inclusion List shows us who has excelled at showcasing stories featuring voices that are often missing from popular movies. Seven of the top ten films on the Inclusion List were directed by women of color, and the first 47 films on the list were made by directors from historically marginalized communities,” said Dr. Smith.

“What’s even more powerful about this list,” she continued, “consistent with our previous work–is that films from women and women of color directors on the list earned the highest average Metacritic score. These women are excluded from the industry when we know that they are some of the top performers, telling some of the strongest and most compelling stories. This is a list that celebrates women of color in an industry that doesn’t.”

The Farewell
The Farewell

The top distributors reflect the companies responsible for bringing the films on The Inclusion List to audiences. They were ranked by the number of films appearing on the list itself.

Among major distribution studios, Universal led with 24 films, followed by Sony with 14 movies and Warner Bros. with 11 featured theatricals. A24 led among smaller distributors with nine releases, while Neon placed second with six.

Will Packer, James Lopez, Kevin Feige, Dede Garner, Jeremy Kleiner, Jordan Peele, Ian Cooper, and Jason Blum were named the most inclusive producers for having three or more films on The Inclusion List.

“These producers have a clear commitment to championing material that reflects culturally specific content and/or a variety of perspectives and for their inclusive hiring of crew behind the scenes,” said Smith.

“At Adobe, we believe that when more diverse stories are told, the world becomes a more equal and vibrant place,” said Adobe Markering VP Stacy Martinet.

“Initiatives such as the Adobe Foundation’s collaboration with USC Annenberg,” continued the Adobe Foundation Board member, “gives us the ability to elevate the stories and people that are making inclusivity a priority, while also finding the ways we can still make change in the industry.”