Franklin Leonard’s anonymous survey has launched careers, recognized four of the past eight Best Picture winners, and pushed movie studios to think beyond sequels and action flicks.
Success stories like the Skyes’ show how the Black List screenwriting service might begin to widen the funnel through which talent reaches Hollywood. Still, in one respect Leonard has been disappointed: He’d hoped that the site would help more women and minority screenwriters get discovered. Instead, the overwhelming majority of submissions have come from white men, a pattern that mirrors the industry as a whole.
The lack of diversity in Hollywood has come under increasing public scrutiny, especially since last year’s Academy Awards. The all-white nominees for the top four acting categories, plus the overwhelmingly white casts of all the Best Picture contenders, sparked a national outcry. Movies are still one of America’s most powerful and popular forms of cultural expression, advocates argue, and they should reflect the realities of their American audience.