The 90th Academy Awards leaned hard into diversity Sunday night on stage. But the industry still has much evolving to do: Women directed only 11 percent of the top 250 feature films last year, but 100 percent of Walmart's three Oscars commercials Sunday night. Baby steps.
The second of the retailer's three-year Oscar sponsorship deal didn't intend to capitalize on the #MeToo movement in this first year of a Motion Picture Academy without Harvey Weinstein, Walmart insists.
The star of each 60-second spot is the same as for Walmart's current ad campaign --the retailer's signature blue shipping box -- a nod to corporate priorities in the battle to catch Amazon in e-commerce. Each of the three female directors -- Melissa McCarthy, Nancy Meyers and Dee Rees-- were asked to build a story around a blue box.
McCarthy's film, see here, used her Walmart box to transport back in time, apparently to buck up the confidence of younger version of the protagonist. She might have tried going back to warn Sean Spicer against taking that White House job.
Rees used her Walmart box to spin a sci-fi tale of a little girl's battle against early bedtime while Meyers crafted a tale of a blue box helping a composer Hans Zimmer defeat writer's block.
As part of the sponsorship -- Publicis Worldwide and Haworth handled creative and media -- Walmart is providing funding to Women In Film's Catalyze program to support the next generation of female filmmakers. Three Catalyze students got to visit sets of the Walmart commercials.