WINNER: ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – FRANCES MCDORMAND Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

RANCES MCDORMAND: Okay, so I’m hyperventilating a little bit. If I fall over, pick me up cause I’ve got some things to say. So I think this is what Chloe Kim must have felt like after doing back-to-back 1080s in the Olympic halfpipe. Did you see that? Okay, that’s what it feels like.

I want to thank Martin McDonagh, look what you did. We are a bunch of hooligans and anarchists but we do clean up nice. I want to thank every single person in this building. And my sister Dorothy. I love you, Dot. And I especially want to thank my clan, Joel and Pedro “McCoen.” These two stalwart individuals were well-raised by their feminist mothers. They value themselves, each other and those around them. I know you are proud of me and that fills me with everlasting joy.

And now I want to get some perspective. If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me in this room tonight, the actors – Meryl, if you do it, everybody else will, c’mon – the filmmakers, the producers, the directors, the writers, the cinematographer, the composers, the songwriters, the designers. C’mon! Okay, look around everybody. Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Don’t talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days, or you can come to ours, whatever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them. I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.


A. Thank you. Don’t give me any more attention because it will all go to my head.
Come on. Ask away. I’m ready. I’m ready.

Q. Right here. Margot. I mean Margot ‑‑ Frances. Sorry. Right here.
A. No. My name, Marco, call me Marco, that’s fine. I don’t know who that is.

Q. Please explain your comment at the end, the two words “inclusion rider.”
A. Right. I just found out about this last week. There is ‑‑ has always been available to all ‑‑ everybody that get ‑‑ that does a negotiation on a film, an inclusion rider which means that you can ask for and/or demand at least 50 percent diversity in not only the casting, but also the crew. And so, the fact that we ‑‑ that I just learned that after 35 years of being in the film business, it’s not ‑‑ we’re not going back. So the whole idea of women trending, no. No trending. African Americans trending, no. No trending. It changes now, and I think the inclusion rider will have something to do with that. Right? Power in rules.

Q. I want to ask you about a bit of a follow‑up to that question. The tone of the evening, obviously it’s about awards, but there was certainly throughout the evening the idea that this was a different Oscars than in the past because of what has happened since October.
A. No. It actually was ‑‑ it happened way before that. I think that what happened last year, you know, with MOONLIGHT winning the best picture, that’s when it changed. And it had to be acknowledged. That had to be acknowledged, and it was acknowledged in the best possible way. Not just by, you know, fixing the mistake, but actually recognizing that that won Best Picture. MOONLIGHT won Best Picture of 2017.

Q. It was about the idea that this evening was sending a message because of the activities that have happened and the revelations and women being brave enough to speak out since October. Did you feel that was handled properly and enough this evening?
A. Well, yeah. You know, it was really interesting because like I said, feeling like I was Chloe Kim doing back‑to‑back 1080s in the halfpipe, I was ‑‑ I don’t do everything. As you know, I don’t show up all the time. I only show up when I can and when I want to, but I was there at the Golden Globes and it’s almost like there was an arc that started there. It doesn’t end here. But I think publicly as a commercial, because that’s what we are, this is not a ‑‑ this is not ‑‑ this is not a novel. This is a TV show after all, but I think that the message that we’re getting to send to the public is that we’re going to be one of the small industries that try to make a difference. And I think $21 million in the legal defense fund is a great way to start. And the commission that’s being headed by Anita Hill, that’s really smart. See, we didn’t just ‑‑ we didn’t just put out commercials about it. We actually started a conversation that will change something.

Q. Okay. THREE BILLBOARDS has started a movement. Have you seen the billboards all over the world?
A. Oh, are you kidding? Off the screen and on to the street. Really exciting.
Q. Talk about that. I want to hear what your comment is about that.
A. Well, you know, recently my husband and I were in London at the BAFTAs, and we went to the Tate Modern and we saw an exhibition about the Russian Revolution ‑‑ Russian Revolution and the propaganda that was used. Now, that revolution did not go so well, so we don’t want to think too much about that. But the red and black is a really, really good choice. And Martin McDonagh knew that. He was involved in the choice with the ‑‑ with the set design of the film to use that kind of iconography, and I think that idea that activists are taking that kind of statement and putting it out there ‑‑ billboards still work. They still work. So I think that it’s really exciting. It started actually with the Grenfell Tower fires investigation. Then it leapfrogged to the Miami gun control situation. It was outside the UN about the Syrian situation. You know, it’s a kind of ‑‑ that’s the kind of power that an image can have. And that’s what we’re making. We’re making powerful images.

Q. Actually, THREE BILLBOARDS just released in China three days ago.
A. Yes, and? And?

Q. It’s a very American movie. What would you like to say to Chinese audience?
A. Well, I would like to know are they going to see it? Are people going to see it?

Q. Now it has over one million ‑‑ $1 million.
A. Okay. We need to get a little bit more people to the cinema. I don’t know how to do that, but maybe you can help. I don’t know, what would you like me to say?

Q. What would you like to say?
A. I think that it is not America. It does not represent America, but it represents a really good conversation about compassion and ‑‑ and inclusion. How about that?

Matthew Sardo
Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.