Oscar winner Frances McDormand calls on stars to demand ‘inclusion riders’
LOS ANGELES — Hollywood, Frances McDormand wants you to ante up.
The actress took home the Oscar for best actress for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and used her acceptance speech to do something special.
“If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees in categories stand with me tonight, the actors, the filmmakers, the directors, the producers, the writers, the cinematographers, the composers, the designers,” McDormand said, inviting the nominated women in the audience to rise from their seats.
She then made a plea to studios and producers.
“We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,” McDormand said. “Don’t talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days, or you can come to ours, whatever suits you best and we’ll tell you all about them.”
McDormand concluded her speech with a reference to entertainment industry contract requirements to establish gender and racial diversity on projects.
“I have two words to leave you with tonight,” McDormand said. “Inclusion rider.”
Annenberg Inclusion Initiative founder and director Stacy Smith discussed the concept in a 2016 TedWomen talk.
“What if those A-listers simply added an equity clause or an inclusion rider into their contract?” Smith had said in her talk, referring to Hollywood’s “A-lister” top stars.
A typical feature film has about 40 to 45 speaking characters with about eight to 10 characters that are relevant to the story, she said.
“There’s no reason why those minor roles can’t match or reflect the demography of where the story is taking place,” Smith said. “An equity rider by an A-lister in their contract can stipulate that those roles reflect the world in which we actually live.”
An inclusion rider is designed to “ensure equitable hiring in supportive roles for women, POC, the LGBT community, & people w/disabilities,” tweeted the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which studies diversity and inclusion in entertainment.
In reaction to McDormand’s speech, the 2016 best actress Oscar winner Brie Larson tweeted: “I’m committed to the Inclusion Rider. Who’s with me?”
The 90th Academy Awards wrapped an awards season punctuated by conversations about the treatment of women in the workplace, pay disparity and sexual misconduct.
McDormand is well known for her politically charged speeches and was even unnecessarily censored during her acceptance speech at this year’s Golden Globes.