The Academy’s New Class is 39% Female and 30% POC

Priyanka Chopra, Donald Glover, Naomie Harris, and John Cho (The Hollywood Reporter)

Priyanka Chopra, Donald Glover, Naomie Harris, and John Cho (The Hollywood Reporter)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced its new class of members. The 2017 class numbers 744, which is a new record. This breaks the 2016 number of invitees at 683, which had previously held the record.

This new class might also hold the distinction of being the most diverse (so far). Of the 744 members, 39% are women and 30% are people of color (POC).

Here’s how the new class will influence the gender makeup of the Academy:

Overall Female Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

Overall Female Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

Notable women invited include “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, comedian Amy Poehler, and French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg.

POC comprise 39% of this year’s class. Here’s what that looks like with respect to the Academy’s full voting body:

People of Color in Overall Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

People of Color in Overall Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

Notable POC invitees include Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key of “Key & Peele,” Indian actor Salman Khan, and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung.

Of course, there’s a lot of intersectionality happening for women of color (WOC). Prominent WOC in this year’s Academy class include Priyanka Chopra, Sanaa Lathan, and Nazanin Boniadi.

The Academy’s new class is part of an effort to increase the numbers of women and POC members by 2020.

Hopefully the new influx of fresh faces and perspectives will allow more diverse and inclusive narratives to come to the forefront, and prevent another #OscarsSoWhite fiasco.

 

Trends: Genderless Awards Categories

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

Last month, MTV announced that its MTV Movie Awards would be no more. Instead, the show would now involve awards for TV, and be called the MTV Movie & TV Awards. But that wasn’t the only new thing the cable network had in store for its new awards show: Certain major categories will be gender neutral.

This new gender neutrality spans the acting categories: Best Actor in a Movie (which includes Emma Watson from “Beauty and the Beast” and Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out”) and Best Actor in a TV Show (which includes Donald Glover from “Atlanta” and Millie Bobby Brown from “Stranger Things”). Of course, some categories have always been gender-neutral, inkling Best Kiss, Best Villian and Best Hero.

There’s clearly a sea change happening, as mainstream culture has gotten hip and woke to the nuances of gender identity. And the young generation isn’t averse to asking for what they want, particularly in terms of representation. Actor Asia Kate Dillion, known for their role on Showtime’s “Billions” as a non-binary character (and TV’s first one at that!), wrote to the Television Academy and asked them to reconsider their binary male and female categories. This was a big ask: the Television Academy governs the Emmy Awards. The Television Academy was very receptive to Dillon’s letter, and Dillon decided to submit themselves under Best Supporting Actor

If the Emmys were to do away with gendered categories, the award show would be getting back to its roots. The Emmys enacted separate categories for male and female performers in 1951, its third year.

I hope this new gender consciousness grows until it becomes so commonplace we no longer need to remark on it.

User Engagement for Beyonce’s Pregnancy Announcement: By The Numbers

Beyonce's Instagram pregnancy announcement, 2017 (Time)

Beyonce’s Instagram pregnancy announcement, 2017 (Time)

OK, we all know that Beyonce is PREGNANT with TWINS, right? (And if that’s the first time you’re hearing this, OMG!!) The music icon announced her pregnancy on February 1st via an Instagram post on her personal account. (Later, she released an entire pregnancy photoshoot that was shot by Awol Erizku.)

As much fuss was made about Kim Kardashian breaking the Internet in 2014, Beyonce actually *did* the damn thing. Beyonce now has the most-liked photo on Instagram.

Here are some numbers to put this fact in context:

Likes on Beyonce’s 2017 Pregnancy Instagram Announcement (#): 10,468,451 

Beyonce’s Instagram Followers (#): 94.8M

Pregnancy Announcement User Engagement (# of likes/# of followers): 11.04%

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement Received within 30 minutes of posting: 1.2M+

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement Received within 1 hour of posting: 2.4M+

Amount of time it took for the pregnancy announcement to become Instagram’s most-liked photo: Less than 8 hours

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement got to become Instagram’s most-liked photo: 6.33M

Second most-liked Instagram photo of all time: Selena Gomez sipping a Coke

Number of Likes for second-most-liked Instagram photo of all time: 6.4M

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Beyonce’s Pregnancy Announcement, 2011

Beyonce at the VMAs, 2011 (The Daily Mail)

Beyonce at the VMAs, 2011 (The Daily Mail)

By now, everyone in the entire world knows that Beyonce is pregnant with twins. (And if this is new to you, who are you? Do you even exist? I have so many questions.) The superstar revealed her pregnancy in an Instagram post to her personal account, followed by more shots of her pregnancy photoshoot to her website.

Remember, this is the second time Beyonce has unleashed a pregnancy announcement on the unsuspecting world. Way back in 2011, she announced her pregnancy at the MTV Video Music Awards (a.k.a. the VMAs). Technically, she announced it twice: once on the red carpet, cradling her bump while clad in a flowing orange gown, and then during her performance onstage. During the latter, Beyonce rubbed her bump and said to the crowd, “I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me.”

Of course, we now know that daughter would be Blue Ivy, age five.

Trends: All-Female Reboots

"Ghostbusters," 2016 (Geek.com)

“Ghostbusters,” 2016 (Geek.com)

The 2011 movie “Bridesmaids” was very funny, no doubt about that. The film, which starred a cadre of funny women led by Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, centered on the escapades of the titular group as they helped their friend (played by Rudolph) on the way to getting hitched. The movie was well-liked by audiences, and that showed in the revenue. At the end of the year, “Bridesmaids” ranked #14 at the domestic box office with $169M+ in revenue, and #20 in the worldwide box office with $289M+ in revenue.

But it also had an effect on movies that we’re still feeling: “Bridesmaids” convinced studios that audiences (both women and men, shocker) would see a movie with an all-woman cast. Well…duh. And now studios have sat up and taken notice.

The waves from “Bridesmaids” have hit an interesting formula: to remake a beloved movie with an all-female cast. The rationale goes that if the men liked the original, then the women will love the remake! (And there’s the assumption that the men will be dragged to the movie from their ladies, but it’s OK because it’s a nostalgic property.)

One high-profile all-female remake has already come out: this year’s “Ghostbusters.” The reboot has Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones investigate paranormal happenings in New York. The movie has a strong “Saturday Night Live” heritage: In addition to Wiig, McKinnon and Jones logging time on the show, the movie also featured current cast member Cecily Strong in a notable part. “Ghostbusters” debuted at #2 on opening weekend, and as thus far grossed $124M+ domestically and $208M+ worldwide.

Another all-female project announced recently was a reboot of the 2001 heist movie “Ocean’s 11” (which itself is a remake of the 1960 movie of the same name). Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, and Nora Lum (better known by her rap name Awkwafina) will make up the ensemble. No release date yet, but I know I’ll be seeing it in the theatre because I vote with my dollars.

It’s great to see so many movies getting made with all-female ensembles, but I can’t wait to get to the point where it’s not noteworthy anymore, but unremarkable and accepted.

 

 

Channing Dungey is the First Black Woman to Run ABC

Channing Dungey and ABC logo (Variety)

Channing Dungey and ABC logo (Variety)

Big news on the entertainment/broadcast networks front: Channing Dungey was named President of ABC Entertainment last week. She’s the first Black woman to run a broadcast network’s entertainment division.

Dungey replaces outgoing president Paul Lee.

Before her new role, Dungey ran development of ABC’s shows. She’s worked with the “Thank God It’s Thursday” (TGIT)-block of “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” earning her nickname of “the Shonda Rhimes whisperer.”

I’m eager to see how ABC’s programming will change as a result of Dungey’s promotion. Based on her glowing history with show runners, it sounds like viewers are in for a treat.

 

“I Am Cait” Wins Big in Overnight Ratings

Caitlyn Jenner in 'I Am Cait' (New York Daily News)

Caitlyn Jenner in ‘I Am Cait’ (New York Daily News)

Last night, “I Am Cait” premiered on the E! network. The eight-part docuseries follows Caitlyn (born Bruce) Jenner as she transitions from a man to a woman, and how that changes affects her relationships with family and friends. The series was announced right after Jenner’s groundbreaking “20/20” interview with Diane Sawyer in which she revealed she’d be transitioning.

With the overnight ratings in, the premiere garnered a 2.1 household rating within Nielsen’s 56 metered markets. It tied with TNT’s “Falling Skies” for the most-watched cable program of the night. Prior similar ratings points to this share being equivalent to about 3M viewers.

These ratings suggest that the interest in Jenner’s story is there, and substantial. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how these ratings progress on a weekly basis.