Reporter Silas Pease takes a look back at some of the key moments that shaped Hollywood this past decade.
The 2010s were a tumultuous time for Hollywood, even by its own standards. As film and television lovers enter into a new decade with a sense of hope for the ever-changing industry, it may be best to run over just what made the 10s such a huge decade for Hollywood, and the world.
“Me Too” Movement
One of the major movements of the decade would have to be the rise of the #MeToo movement. This was where many prominent celebrities in the film industry came forward to discuss sexual abuse in Hollywood. Though the phrase “Me Too” in this context was coined by activist Tarana Burke in 2006, it gained traction in late 2017 following its use on Twitter in allegations of sexual misconduct made against film producer Harvey Weinstein. It would later spread to others speaking up about similar cases. The purpose of the movement has been to raise awareness of sexual abuse in the film industry, whilst also giving a wider voice to those who have been affected as this problem has manifested throughout society. As a result of the movement, discussions have been sparked in countries across the world on how cultural norms should be changed, such as the humiliation and/or silencing of people trying to report cases of assault, and how the culture of manipulation through power is allowed to continue. While cases regarding sexual assault from high ranking individuals aren’t new to this decade, it’s hoped that this movement will make it less culturally acceptable in the future.
Disney’s growing influence
Starting the decade with the acquisition of Marvel Studios, then taking over LucasFilm in 2012, the Walt Disney Company has been continuing to thin out its competition in the film market. By the end of the decade, the company had amassed just over a third of the market share in the North American film industry, and 2019 saw Disney producing seven of the 10 top grossing films across the globe. As a result of Disney’s growing share of the market, other studios are having greater difficulty showing their films in cinemas, as struggling theatres will more likely turn to movies from big franchises to ensure people will still pay to watch them – franchises like the MCU or Star Wars. As it stands, the company is showing no signs of slowing down. While the US does have legislation against monopolies to prevent one entity controlling the market, Disney has already shown signs of using its power over smaller companies, such as in dictating how theatres would show The Rise of Skywalker and how much the company would make from the sales of its tickets. The latest acquisition of 20th Century Fox (one of the six major Hollywood film studios) has also given Disney even more power on certain companies like Hulu, while also adding franchises like the Simpsons, X-Men and the Avatar films to their list of owned properties, further stretching out the company’s power in the business.
This decade also saw the rise in the popularity of streaming services, and a flood in the market of more and more companies wanting to capitalise off of this trend. More recently, corporations like Disney have created their own services where their films and television shows are available exclusively. These services have also begun to produce and market their own films, and many argue that this is impacting the traditional cinema-going experience. In 2019, director Steven Spielberg even made an attempt to change the Academy Awards’ rules to exclude films primarily shown on streaming services. This came after Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuaron and distributed by Netflix, won three Oscars (including Best Director) that year. As the number of streaming services grows many are concerned whether cinema will become more obsolete, and the slowly falling rate of ticket sales in the US and Canada over the decade hasn’t done much to dispel these fears. It remains to be seen how the landscape of the film industry will shift in the 2020s due to this trend.
The Academy Awards Diversity Issue
The Academy Awards have been no stranger to criticism over the decades, but one of the biggest talking points in the 2010s was the #OscarsSoWhite movement. This saw criticism being aimed at the academy due to all 20 nominees for acting categories in the 87th Academy Awards being caucasian, something that would happen again the very next year. The movement itself aimed to not only highlight the lack of diversity seen in the nominees during the awards season, but also to bring forth a discussion about the lack of diversity in other areas in Hollywood, both in front of and behind the camera. In response, the Academy has included new rules to be more inclusive in its voting processes, but many have argued this isn’t all that needs to be done. April Reign, who coined the hashtag back in 2015, said in a 2018 Vanity Fair opinion piece that, in spite of the Academy’s efforts film studios are still hesitant to hire staff from underrepresented groups in the industry as they are too risky, and that still needs to be addressed. We’re yet to see what further changes will happen in the coming decade, but many are hopeful that this will allow more people to be given greater consideration for roles in the industry.