Hollywood does this fun trick where it picks and chooses from popular forward thinking topics so that it looks like it isn’t run exclusively by white men and (some) women. Which is why this years 90th Annual Academy Awards ceremony was so interesting. It was an awards show poised as both an apology for not only an industry that exhibits exclusionary behavior buy predatory too.

To offset everything the #MeToo movement brought up this years Oscars tried to prove Hollywood is finally woke, dammit. And to set this message home, many of Hollywood’s biggest names came forth with a variety of messages. One of the biggest messages sent was by Frances McDormand at the end of her acceptance speech for best actress in “3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” with a mic drop that not everyone understood:

“We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Invite us into your office in a couple of days, or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them. have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: Inclusion rider.”

But what is an “Inclusion rider” and how can it help the people who control Tinseltown move away from an industry plagued with problems that range from excessive predatory behavior to full blown racism?

In her backstage speech, McDormand explain that an inclusion rider is leverage to make the industry more inclusive: “To everyone that does a negotiation on a film, an inclusion rider means that you can ask for and/or demand at least 50% diversity not only in casting but also the crew…The fact that I’ve just learned that… we’re not going back.”

According to The Washington Post, who went into more detail an inclusion rider is also, “A way to make Hollywood more equitable. Actors sign contracts when they are cast in films, and they have the ability to negotiate for riders, or additional provisions. An inclusion rider is a stipulation that the cast and/or the crew in a film reflect real demographics, including a proportionate number of women, minorities, LGBTQ individuals and people with disabilities.”
A inclusion rider is a stars way of ensuring that the forward moving path Hollywood acts like they’re interested is followed. It’s sort of like the Yellow Brick Road for those who want to make it to a more inclusive Hollywood, but instead of visiting a wizard with no real powers, you end up with an industry that employs a diverse demographic of people (ie. not just white guys).
So now we just have to wait and see if the people in power (white dudes) not only take inclusion riders seriously, but maybe, these people institute an inclusion rider as though it’s a normal part of making movies. Maybe then we can finally see the change we need.

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