When Frances McDormand took home the Best Actress award for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri on Sunday, she ended her acceptance speech on a powerful note. “I have two words for you,” McDormand said, “inclusion rider.” In so doing, the two-time Academy Award-winning actress was suggesting that stars add an inclusivity clause of sorts to their contracts to promote diversity in the cast and crew of their films.
The idea is an important and actionable one, as it demonstrates a way celebrities can leverage their star power to directly impact the issue of representation in Hollywood. McDormand’s suggestion came after she asked all the female nominees in every category to stand up in the audience. Despite the seemingly powerful display of increasing gender parity in Hollywood, as Quartzy notes, the number of women in leading roles in the 100 highest-grossing films actually dropped in 2017. The numbers for people of color in leading roles was similarly lack luster.
However, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the concept of an inclusion rider. Back in 2016, Stacy Smith, founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, raised the issue of an “inclusion rider” or “equity clause” to address the inequities in representation in Hollywood.
In any case, Twitter was 100 percent on board with McDormand's call to action, with celebs and normal folk alike tweeting out their support.