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Last night’s Oscars were truly a night to remember. From Guillermo del Toro taking home the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture for "The Shape of Water", to "Get Out" winning Best Original Screenplay, to Roger Deakins FINALLY winning the award for Best Cinematography, there were plenty of moments people will be talking about for many months to come.
But one of the moments that stuck out the most during the 4-hour ceremony was Frances McDormand’s incredible speech after winning Best Actress.
She took the time out of her 45 seconds to acknowledge all of the female nominees in the room, having them stand with her in solidarity. Then she ended her time limit on two words that left the internet in a searching frenzy; Inclusion rider.
So, what IS an inclusion rider? Let me break it down for you. An inclusion rider is an A-list Hollywood actor that can ask for/demand at least 50 per cent diversity in a film that they’re working on within both the cast and crew. These actors can put a clause in their contracts to help increase racial and gender diversity in their films. This term, also coined ‘equity rider’, was brought to a broader audiences’ attention from McDormand’s speech, but it’s been around since 2016. It was created by a woman named Stacy Smith, a University of Southern California professor, during a TED Talk where she had hoped to broaden exposure for women, minorities, LGBTQ actors and filmmakers, and people with disabilities in the industry. I firmly believe that in this new age of #MeToo and #Time’sUp that inclusion riders will become far more common.
Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and winners!