You probably missed this, but the Oscars were on Monday. The glitz and glamour of the 94th Academy Awards burned bright with the potential for some pretty exciting film and acting history to be made and yet somehow, all of this was outshone by a shocking slap heard and seen (in some places uncensored) around the world. While there will be many think pieces in the coming days and weeks about the need for comedy to move past the ‘easy laugh’ of making a joke about someone’s appearance and even more thoughts on the abhorrent casualisation of violence, its language and its consequences, that’s not what this article is about.
We want to talk about the good stuff. The power of representation on screen can and should never be underestimated. Buried beneath the endless hot takes, this ceremony reflected that perhaps none more so than in awarding the performances of a deaf man and an openly queer Afro-Latina woman. Change is coming, if only slowly. And that change does more than boost psychological, emotional and social feelings of inclusivity.
Recent research conducted by Monash University Australia shows a clear link between films with LGBTQIA+ inclusion, whether that be content, or cast and better performance at the box office. In fact, the findings published in the Journal of Business Ethics indicate that films with such inclusion could outperform films without, by as much as 29% more revenue. When you consider that in 2019, global box office revenue, reached a staggering $42 billion, that 29% is a big deal. It could be the difference between a film making money or not. And while there is still plenty of room for improvement in terms of audience response to LGBTQIA+ themed films specifically, we’re headed in the right direction. In 2022, if your film is not inclusive or diverse in its representation of experiences, you should be prepared for the possibility of losing out with audiences.