Barbenheimer: Diversity in Two of the Biggest Oscar Contenders

Written by Lars Damgaard Nielsen
Barbenheimer: Diversity in Two of the Biggest Oscar Contenders

The Barbie movie has been praised for it's representation and diversity.

Unlike the stereotypical portrayal of main characters Barbie and Ken, the film features actors of various body types, races, and sexual preferences.

On the other hand, Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer has faced criticism for its apparent lack of diversity and for not featuring crucial historical female figures such as Lise Meitner—a pivotal female character in the narrative of the creation of the atomic bomb.

For fun, we tried applying DiversityCatch to the trailers of both films. Here is what we found out.

By the way - two years ago we compared all the nominees for best movie - you can read more about that here.

Most females in ...

In the trailer for 'Barbie,' women appear on screen 52% of the time. In contrast, this number is significantly lower in the 'Oppenheimer' trailer.

So in a girly movie about a female doll, Ken and his friends are still take up 48% of the screen time.

What we did

When we analyze content with AI, we utilize various technologies, ranging from facial recognition to topic recognition using speech-to-text. In this particular example, we did not analyze the topics discussed in the trailers, which would have been especially interesting for analyzing news content.

However, we did listen to the audio to determine which gender is predominant in the dialogue.

Upon analyzing the audio from the trailers we can hear that Ken and his friends only get to talk for 26% of the time. But that is a whole lot more than 0 in the 'Oppenheimer' trailer, where no women are speaking at all.

Another method of assessing the diversity of a piece of content is by analyzing the ages of the people on screen. Typically, women are portrayed as younger than their male counterparts. This trend is also evident in the trailers of these two movies.

Last but not least, we analyzed people's facial expressions to identify their emotions.

And if you don't recall many smiles in Oppenheimer, you're absolutely right. In fact, Cillian Murphy and the rest of the cast looked sad for about 75% of the time. The sadness was also evident in Barbie, particularly on the male faces. The men appeared 81% sadder than the women in the trailer.

This is just one example of how AI can be leveraged to understand diversity and equality in content.

Numerous media companies utilize DiversityCatch to analyze their content round-the-clock across all platforms. If you're interested, you can try analyzing a single piece of content here, or learn more about it here.

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