The Woman King Ranked Most Inclusive Movie In Recent Years According To Study

Hollywood is more diverse than ever, but the industry still has a long way to go until everyone is given proper representation and recognition. After years of scrutiny, the Oscars made a big and important decision to make the awards more inclusive, but then Jamie Lee Curtis won over Angela Bassett, so is it really working? 

Instead, the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and the Adobe Foundation took matters into their own hands, creating "The Inclusion List," a data-driven tool that recognizes the 100 most-inclusive movies from 2019 to 2022. Considering numerous factors, Gina Prince-Bythewood's "The Woman King" took the top spot as the most-inclusive film of the last three years. 

"The Woman King" earned a score of 14 out of 20 on "The Inclusion List," meeting three of the 10 criteria for its cast, which included Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, and John Boyega. However, that isn't what landed it the top spot, as the movie broke the list's charts, scoring an 11 out of 10 for its diverse crew. The list also gave any film directed by a woman of color an extra point. "'The Woman King' is a perfect example that shows us when people want to be inclusive, they can," Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder of the Inclusion Initiative, said. "Behind the camera, unit head positions reflected inclusion by having men and women of color and white women in a variety of roles." 

The Woman King cast and crew fought hard to get the movie made

"The Woman King" was a historic win for diversity, inclusion, and representation in Hollywood, meaning more than can easily be put into words. Regardless of how much the industry preaches diversity, studios aren't out-bidding each other for a movie like "The Woman King," so getting it made was an uphill battle everyone signed on for.

"I think, in general, it's difficult to make movies," star Viola Davis told Deadline, reflecting on fighting to get "The Woman King" made. "I don't want to feel like, you know, I'm cornering the market on the difficulties of movies making it to the screen, but you're looking at a predominantly female-led movie that's very action-packed, where sort of no one has a G-string and full makeup. And those women being predominantly dark-skinned Black women, I think that no precedent has been set for it."

Not only did "The Woman King" need to set a new precedent to make it to the big screen, but another challenge it faced was that the industry wasn't all too interested in historical epics anymore. As producer Cathy Schulman touched on in the same interview, movies like "Gladiator" and "Troy" are a thing of the past, with a shift towards fantasy movies dominating Hollywood (and it's safe to assume she includes superhero films in that genre). Schulman said that tackling a part of history that no one talks about was another challenge "The Woman King" faced. However, their commitment to the story and inclusion paid off in the end, with Sony giving the film the green light. "We were completely exhausted by the end, but it was an incredible experience," Schulman said.