Brie Larson demands more diverse film critics, not just ‘white dudes’

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In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is only one character Brie Larson hopes to battle.
USA TODAY

BEVERLY HILLS — Brie Larson is demanding more diversity in film reviews.

The future “Captain Marvel” star used her platform Wednesday night at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards to drive home new statistics highlighting the dearth of women and minority film critics.

In 2017, only 2.5 % of top critics in 2017 were women of color, she noted.

“I don’t need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn’t work about ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ ” said Larson. “It wasn’t made for him! I want to know what it meant to women of color, biracial women, to teen women of color.”

Larson clarified: “Am I saying I hate white dudes? No, I am not. What I am saying is if you make a movie that is a love letter to women of color, there is an insanely low chance a woman of color will have a chance to see your movie, and review your movie.”

More: Brie Larson’s surprise Captain Marvel first look has some wondering: Why teal?

The Hollywood star based her speech on a study released Monday by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which found that nearly 80 percent of film critics who reviewed last year’s top box-office hits were male.

“It really sucks that reviews matter – but reviews matter,” said Larson. “Good reviews out of festivals give small, independent films a fighting chance to be bought and seen. Good reviews help films gross money, good reviews slingshot films into awards contenders.

“A good review can change your life,” continued Larson, who sprang from the indie breakout “Room” to Oscar gold. “It changed mine.”

In a room full of executives, managers and publicists, Larson called for studios to screen their films for underrepresented critics and include them in their junkets.

She also announced that the Sundance and Toronto film festivals will both allocate 20 percent of press credentials to underrepresented journalists going forward.

Frances McDormand kicked off the evening by speaking of how she came to learn of inclusion riders, a concept she brought to the Oscar stage this past year with a memorable mic drop. That night, “I got flustered and I improvised,” she said. “Now I know a lot more.” McDormand then brought Dr. Stacy L. Smith, who coined the term, on stage.

More: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck join Hollywood stars in adopting inclusion riders

Also honored Wednesday night were the women of “Black Panther,” ABC president Channing Dungey, actress Alexandra Shipp and the Grammy-winning songwriting producers Nova Wav (Denisia “Blu June” Andrews and Brittany “Chi” Coney).

Dungey, who made headlines after she fired Roseanne Barr two weeks ago, brought her daughter on stage with her, and gave a subtle nod to “Roseanne” leaving her lineup.

“When we see things that are happening around us that are counter to our values and our beliefs, our actions must match our words,” Dungey said. 

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