Remember Frances McDormand being surprised at her win? Or if not surprised (because she’s won every award all season and actively asked people to stop voting for her), then kind of flustered? Did you wonder why? Apparently because if she had to go through the irritation of actually winning (why do I love her grumpiness when I would be infuriated by anyone else?) then she was going to make a point of doing something about it.
And she did.
When she put her award down, there was a startled buzz in the room. A “whaaaa…” What’s this woman who doesn’t play by the rules and doesn’t have to make anyone like her going to do?
Then she makes all the female nominees in the room stand up. “Come on, Meryl. If you do it everyone will do it.”
And they did! I love that all the celebrities were grinning at the fun of playing Simon Says, and all the lesser-known women in non-performance categories looked terrified. “What am I signing up for?”
Whatever they thought, it wasn’t that. It was neither a ‘recognize the achievements of women’ moment nor a ‘Times Up’ moment – no, this is just Frances McDormand working some corporate strategy en masse. She wants to have the producers and executives in the room visually identify the female nominees, to produce their stories, but more specifically, “Don’t talk to us about our ideas tonight at a party. Call us into your office in a few days.” She’s just educating the room on proper business practices, okay?
Then she kicks it up a notch. “Two words: Inclusion Rider.”
And mic drops! That’s what she ends her speech on, leaving the people in the room to murmur and nod and the people watching all over the world to google ‘Inclusion Writer’ or, hilariously, ‘Inclusion Ryder’.
Obligatory sidebar: a rider, in entertainment, is a non-monetary segment in your contract that says things like “Duana requires an office with SOUTHWEST EXPOSURE” and “Meaningful consultation on any and all jokes, especially but not limited to any pertaining to musical theatre.” McDormand is speaking specifically about an Inclusion Rider, in which actors can stipulate that the crews on the projects they work on have a particular level of diversity.
That is, some actors. Powerful actors. The ones in the Kodak Theatre. They’re the ones who can get away with having riders at all, and thus they know what McDormand is talking about. And she knows they know, and who cares about everyone else?
The 20 million people who watch the Oscars every year? They’re not the point here.
You know how they call people ‘Actors’ Actors’? Frances McDormand is the extreme example. She is giving a roomful of industry professionals marching orders, and she does not care at all whether the TV audience is confused by them. At all.
In fact, this is her MO all the time. She waves away pesky TV cameras that search for emotions on her face. She may be wearing makeup to the Oscars, but like hell did she hire a ‘glam squad’ – that is tinted moisturizer and Vaseline, tops. She is only there for the other people in the room, and I’m not sure if she would even care if nobody went to see the things she was in, as long as she got to make them….
Though legend has it she lost her Oscar in the Governor’s Ball last night and was crying about it – crying! – before being reunited with her statue and taking it to In-n-Out for a treat. The relatability grows!
Meanwhile, the more I stare at her dress and the 70’s-textured-wallpaper optical illusion of it, the more I like it. Which wouldn’t matter to her at all, which makes me love her more. Which she knows! And hates! May we never break free of this vicious cycle!
Look at this brain trust -- who not only stole Frances McDormand's Oscar but proceeded to get photographed and videotaped with it a LOT before being apprehended. I hope it was a truly memorable time, sir, because it's about to be your 15 minutes of fame for just about ever.