The Adobe Foundation partnered with Associate Professor of Communication Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to debut The Inclusion List, 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 showcases two top directors for inclusion across the time frame 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,” Smith said. “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: 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.”
To form the list, the research team scored 376 theatrically-released films across 20 inclusion indicators, with the highest-scoring films 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 10 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.
Whereas other Hollywood lists about inclusion rely on submissions, a nomination process, or subjective decision-making, The Inclusion List draws solely from data to create a cast and crew score based on actual hiring practices and story elements. As a result, the films, distributors, and producers on the list appear based on a demonstrated track record 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 10 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,” Smith said. “What’s even more powerful about this list– and 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 list celebrates women of color in an industry that doesn’t.”
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 large distributors, Universal Pictures took top honors with 24 films on the list, followed by Sony Pictures Entertainment (14 films) and Warner Bros. Pictures (11 films). For smaller distributors, A24 led among its peers with 9 movies, with Neon landing in second place (6 films).
A total of eight producers received a nod for their work in film over the past four years. 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 3 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,” Smith said.
“At Adobe, we believe that when more diverse stories are told, the world becomes a more equal and vibrant place,” said Stacy Martinet, VP of marketing at Adobe and Adobe Foundation Board member. “Initiatives such as the Adobe Foundation’s collaboration with USC Annenberg 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.”
This latest partnership builds on Adobe’s commitment to creating greater inclusivity, access, opportunity and creativity for all. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Adobe Foundation together launched a landmark website on inclusion among Academy Award-nominees and winners ahead of the 2023 Academy Awards ceremony. The Adobe Foundation also announced funding to support the USC School of Dramatic Arts MFA program, directly supporting the production of short films for underrepresented students.
The results from the groups’ first report, and the full methodology for The Inclusion List, are available at inclusionlist.org.