Frances McDormand’s Powerful Oscars Speech Issued A Bold Challenge To Hollywood

The #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up campaign for women’s equality are changing Hollywood culture. Frances McDormand’s powerful acceptance speech for Best Actress indicates they could be changing Hollywood economics as well.

In case you missed it, during Frances McDormand’s powerful acceptance speech for her Best Actress Oscar she asked all the female nominees to stand up.

“And now I’d like to get some perspective,” McDormand said, placing her golden Oscar statuette on the stage at her feet. “If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me in this room tonight, the actors—Meryl, if you do it, everybody else will, c’mon—the filmmakers, the producers, the directors, the writers, the cinematographer, the composers, the songwriters, the designers.”

What set McDormand’s speech apart from others celebrating diversity and equality is the real-world financial component of it. McDormand called out studios and executives and let them know what equality would actually look like—bankrolling female-led projects, “Okay, look around everybody. Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed.”

McDormand’s speech is more evidence the Time’s Up campaign could go beyond usual Hollywood lip service. “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,” she said.

McDormand ended by challenging her fellow actors, actresses, and directors to live their values by including them in their contracts, “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.” If you’re not familiar, a “rider” refers to a clause in a contract, and an “inclusion rider” is a clause in actor’s contract that allows them to stipulate certain levels of inclusion in a project.

We’ve already even seen some celebs throwing their weight around to get real, financial equality. Jessica Chastain demanded Octavia Spencer be paid the same amount as she was for a film the two were doing together. “She said: ‘Octavia, we’re gonna get you paid on this film. You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favored nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing.’

If the response to McDormand’s speech is any indication, inclusion riders could turn into the new norm in Hollywood.