What is an ‘inclusion rider,’ the phrase Frances McDormand said during her Oscar speech?

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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What Is An Inclusion Rider?

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

On Sunday night, Frances McDormand won the best actress Oscar for her role in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

McDormand used her acceptance speech to recognize all the women nominated for awards in this year's Academy Awards ceremony and to alert producers that going forward, she would be asking for something else in contract negotiations.

“I have two words for you: inclusion rider,” McDormand said.

It’s not a phrase many are familiar with. An “inclusion rider” is a demand that can be part of an actor’s contract if they wish. It is a clause attached to the contract that requires producers of the film to reach a certain level of diversity when hiring the cast and crew.

Stacy Smith, the founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, was one of the first people to advance the concept of requiring companies to hire members from different cultural groups.

Smith told The Guardian that she had already worked on the language to be used in contracts for actors who are interested in inclusion riders.

“The typical feature film has about 40 to 45 speaking characters in it,” Smith said. “I would argue that only eight to 10 of those characters are actually relevant to the story. The remaining 30 or so roles -- there’s no reason why those minor roles can’t match or reflect the demography of where the story is taking place. An equity rider by an A-lister in their contract can stipulate that those roles reflect the world in which we actually live.”

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