Frances McDormand Accepts Best Actress Oscar, Honors Other Female Nominees

Frances McDormand won her second Oscar for best actress on Sunday night, cementing her dominance this awards season for her fiery turn as a mother out for justice for her murdered daughter in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

McDormand, a five-time Oscar nominee, last won the prize in 1997 for her iconic role as police chief Marge Gunderson in “Fargo.” This year’s best actress nominees were Sally Hawkins for “The Shape of Water,” Margot Robbie for “I, Tonya,” Saoirse Ronan for “Lady Bird,” and Meryl Streep for “The Post.”

“I’m hyperventilating a little bit,” McDormand began as she took the stage. “If I fall over, pick me up because I’ve got some things to say.”

“I think is what Chloe Kim must have felt like after doing back-to-back 1080s in the Olympic half-pipe,” she said.

McDormand thanked “Three Billboards” director Martin McDonagh, and shouted out the Coen brothers, who directed “Fargo.”

“I know you’re proud of me, and that fills me with everlasting joy,” she said, beaming at the brothers in the audience.

“And now I want to get some perspective,” she said. “If I may be so honored as to have all the female nominees nominated in every category stand with me in this room tonight. Meryl, if you do, everyone else will.”

McDormand cackled as dozens of women stood around the room.

“Look around ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,” she said. “Don’t talk to us about it at the parties, invite us into your office in a couple days or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them.”

She finished her speech by calling for contractually mandated inclusion across films: “I have two words to leave with you tonight: inclusion rider.”

Specifically, an inclusion rider is a clause in the contract of the top line talent on a film that requires a diverse crew to be hired around them.

Backstage, McDormand said the recent progress made for diversity and inclusion will not commence at this year’s Oscars ceremony. McDormand said “Moonlight,” which won best picture last year, was the beginning of a push to recognize films featuring different voices and stories.

She sounded defiant as she elaborated on her comment about A-list talent calling for inclusion riders, saying it would help ensure that progress continues. “The whole idea of women trending?” she began. “No, no trending. African Americans trending? No, no trending. It changes now.”

McDormand’s performance was praised as a timely one, earning recognition for its unflinching and unapologetic portrayal of a grieving, yet tough-as-nails mother who wants local police to find her daughter’s rapist and killer. She emerged as the clear frontrunner in the category, earning other best lead actress awards, including a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and a SAG Award.

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