“I have two words for you,” said Frances McDormand at the end of her Best Actress acceptance speech at the Oscars last night, “inclusion rider.” The surprise shoutout to contract jargon got a big cheer out of the Hollywood crowd, while the rest of us as home (except maybe the entertainment lawyers) were like, “Huh?”
But an inclusion rider (or equity clause) is so much bigger than a trending Oscars topic on Twitter (though it’s that right now, too). If the biggest stars in Hollywood all demanded it (like Brie Larson has promised to), it could change the film industry.
So, what is it? Basically, it’s a clause in an actor’s contract that mandates a minimum percentage of women, people of colour amongst cast and crew in order to retain that actor. Translation: Inclusion riders would make diversity the rule instead of the exception. If you’ve never heard about these sorts of equity clauses, don’t feel bad, they’re new to McDormand, too:
— Variety (@Variety) March 5, 2018
“I just found out about this last week,” she said after the awards show wrapped up. “This has always been available to all—everybody who does a negotiation on a film—which means you can ask for or demand at least 50 percent diversity in not only the casting but the crew. The fact that I just learned that after 35 years in the film business—we aren’t going back.”
A total of 33 men won Oscars last night. Only six women took home statues.
A total of 33 men won Oscars last night. One of those men, Get Out’s Jordan Peele, was black. Christopher Nolan’s moving WWII epic, Dunkirk—perhaps the whitest, male-est movie made in recent years—claimed three. Just six women took home statues.
While an inclusion rider wouldn’t mean instant diversity in Hollywood, it would go a long way in giving people who aren’t white, cis men a way to get their foot in the film industry door.
“Look around everybody,” McDormand said in her speech. “Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Don’t talk to us at the parties tonight, invite us to your office in a couple days.”
WATCH: Frances McDormand’s Oscars acceptance speech for Best Actress below: