Frances McDormand closed her Best Actress acceptance speech Sunday at the 90th Academy Awards with a phrase cryptic to many non-Hollywood insiders – “I have two words for you: inclusion rider.”
What’s an inclusion rider? According to The Hollywood Reporter, it’s a potential contract clause requiring gender and racial equality in hiring for a film or television production.
McDormand, who won the Oscar for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” expanded on her comment backstage after her speech.
“I just found out about this last week,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
Whitney Cummings, creator of “2 Broke Girls” and “Whitney,” posted to Twitter after the awards show to add, “an inclusion rider is something actors put into their contracts to ensure gender and racial equality in hiring on movie sets. We should support this for a billion reasons, but if you can't find a reason to, here's one: it will make movies better.”
Merriam-Webster tweeted that “inclusion” was the dictionary website’s “top search on the night,” followed by “cinematography,” “in memoriam,” “feminism” and “rider.”
Several actors and other celebrities posted to Twitter to voice their support for the idea.
During her speech Sunday, McDormand also asked all the female nominees in the audience to stand up, reported The San Diego Union Tribune. “Look around, because we all have stories to tell, and we all have projects we need financed,” she said.
Earlier in the evening, Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek – three actresses whose careers were derailed by encounters with disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein – introduced a film montage highlighting films and filmmakers expanding diversity in the industry, the publication reported.