This post has been updated.
In one of the most powerful moments of the first #MeToo Oscars, best actress winner Frances McDormand invited all the other female nominees in the room to stand up and be recognized. Then she told the men to look around.
“We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,” she said. “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.” Then she signed off with a phrase that sent many people to Google, or Merriam-Webster. “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: Inclusion rider.”
What the heck is an inclusion rider? It’s 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. Big-name actors who have leverage in negotiations could put this stipulation into their contracts and drastically change representation in film.
Since McDormand’s speech, at least one A-lister is following suit. On Wednesday, “Black Panther” star Michael B. Jordan announced on Instagram that his production company, Outlier Society, will adopt inclusion riders for all of its projects.
“I’ve been privileged to work with powerful women and persons of color throughout my career and it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward,” he wrote.
The idea for inclusion riders was developed by Stacy Smith, founder and director of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, and drafted with Kalpana Kotagal of the law firm Cohen Milstein and the producer and actor Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni. Smith spoke about it in a TED talk in 2016, and the idea has gained ground ever since.
When Smith heard McDormand’s call-out, she was thrilled. “How she acknowledged all the women standing up, and indicating that they had projects and ideas, was fantastic,” she told The Washington Post by phone after the Oscars.
Even though the inclusion rider might seem like an insidery Hollywood thing, she’s glad that the public knows about it.
“The message of the industry is going out strong and clear that this matters and that it’s important and there are steps we can take to get there faster,” she said.
“It doesn’t say you have to hire somebody who fits this demographic group even if you don’t think they’re qualified,” she said. “And I think that quota is such a loaded and dangerous word in this society — it invokes this sense that somehow underqualified people are going to get my job.”
The purpose of the inclusion rider is “to counter biases on the casting, auditioning, interviewing and hiring process. For on-screen roles that are supporting and minor in nature, they have to be filled with norms that reflect the world in which we live,” Smith said. That means, for a contemporary drama, approximately 50 percent women, 50 percent minority, 20 percent people with disabilities and five percent LGBTQ, she added. Historical dramas where this formula doesn’t make sense would be exempt.
With a rider, the exact language is always up to the person negotiating, and Kotagal also wanted to stress the importance of looking at the hiring not just of those on camera, but the people behind the scenes, as well.
It’s not as if this is simply charitable work; after all, some recent releases have proved the value of more inclusive hiring practices.
“I mean, I don’t even have to mention ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Hidden Figures,’ ” she said. “Here is what can happen when the industry truly reflects the world in which we live.”
Since premiering in mid-February, the Marvel movie “Black Panther” has mowed down box office records, defying (yet again) the long-held assumption that a movie with a predominantly black cast can’t make major bank. The writers and director of that movie are also people of color, and the film’s cinematographer, Rachel Morrison, was the first woman nominated for an Oscar in that category, for her work on “Mudbound.” (She lost Sunday night to Roger Deakins, who won his first Oscar after 14 nominations.)
Meanwhile, “Get Out” mastermind Jordan Peele became the first black screenwriter to take home a best original screenplay Oscar Sunday night. Of the best picture nominees, his small-budget satire about the horrors of racism was the second-most lucrative, bringing in more than $255 million worldwide.
According to Kotagal, before McDormand made the world aware of the term “inclusion rider,” A-listers had already started to use them during negotiations. Unfortunately, she can’t say who. (“I wish I could,” she said.) But there’s a good possibility that McDormand’s outspoken support of the contract stipulations could inspire others to be vocal as well.
“The percentage of females on screen hasn’t changed since the late 1940s. That’s because small minor roles and supporting roles are very biased [toward] straight, white, able-bodied males,” Smith said. “The goal is that it could really change the entire ecosystem of what we see on screen in a short amount of time if it’s adopted by enough actors, where they ask for this in their contracts.”
- ^ #Oscars (twitter.com)
- ^ March 5, 2018 (twitter.com)
- ^ Oscars 2018: ‘The Shape of Water’ wins best picture at awards show laced with social and political statements (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Annenberg Inclusion Initiative (annenberg.usc.edu)
- ^ TED talk (www.ted.com)
- ^ a “quota.” (www.weeklystandard.com)
- ^ Unforgettable moments from the 2018 Academy Awards (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Rachel Morrison, was the first woman nominated for an Oscar in that category (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ The 2018 Oscars celebrated inclusion. The real progress is still to come. (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Ryan Seacrest’s Oscars red carpet pretended that sexual harassment doesn’t exist (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Oscars 2018: 15 things to know, from the awkward red carpet to the ‘Lady Bird’ snub (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ The Lily: The Oscars showed progress, but women were still punchlines (www.thelily.com)
Houston Recalls Legacy of George Bush, Its Lone Star Yankee and Senior Booster
HOUSTON — Inside the airport that bears his name, George Herbert Walker Bush looks, at a distance, as if he’s wearing a cape.
An 8-foot-tall bronze statue at the Houston airport shows Mr. Bush, who , Barbara Bush, who died in April at the age of 92. After Mr. Bush’s death on Friday, Houston lost its two most famous residents in the span of seven months.
“George H.W. Bush served with valor and integrity as the 41st president of the United States,” Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, said in a statement. “But to Houstonians he was one of our most esteemed and relatable neighbors. He and his wife, Barbara Bush, were our sports teams’ biggest fans, and boosters for everything Houston.”
This was the man whose most memorable quote in years had to do with men’s hosiery. In 2012, as his fondness for wearing bright eye-catching socks was going strong, he explained that he simply “likes a good sock.” At his wife’s funeral at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Mr. Bush wore a pair of socks with a colorful stack-of-books design, a tribute to Mrs. Bush’s advocacy work for family literacy.
In Houston and its surrounding suburbs, Mr. Bush had not only an airport in his name but a park, a high school and a few more life-size statues. Above Buffalo Bayou, a bronze statue of Mr. Bush looks out into the distance with his hand in his pocket, gazing at, of all things, James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state and Mr. Bush’s tennis partner at the Houston Country Club. The statues of the two close friends face each other in the downtown park, separated by about 100 yards, in Houston’s oddest and longest-running staring contest.
“All I can do now,” Mr. Bush told The New York Times in 2011 about the statue, “is hope that the pigeons will be kind and gentle.”
Charles C. Foster, a Houston immigration lawyer and a longtime friend of the Bush family, came up with the idea for the George H.W. Bush Monument, which was unveiled in 2004. Mr. Foster recalled the day he sat in Mr. Bush’s office at 10000 Memorial Drive and asked for his blessing for the project.
“He looked at me and he sort of looked up at the ceiling,” Mr. Foster said. “He pointed to the ceiling and said, ‘Shouldn’t you wait until I’m up there?’ And then he said, pointing downward, ‘Or perhaps down there?’”
In 1990, Mr. Bush helped turn the eyes of the world to Houston.
As president, he brought thousands of reporters and foreign dignitaries to Houston that summer for the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations, an annual gathering of the world’s economic powers. The summits had been held in a number of global cities — London, Tokyo, Paris, Venice — and Mr. Bush made the case that his adopted hometown belonged among such world-class company.
Houston was scrappier back then. The city was rebounding from an oil bust in the 1980s that crippled the economy, and it tried hard to present its best, and cleanest, face to the cameras and the visitors, picking up millions of pounds of trash, repaving roads and enlisting the aid of 12,000 volunteers.
“That was huge for Houston,” Mr. Foster said of the 1990 summit. “When the president had a chance, he could have picked some mountain retreat. But he picked his hometown. He was well aware of the chip on our shoulders that we didn’t feel like Houston got the recognition that it should.”
Now, with 2.3 million residents (compared with 1.6 million in 1990), Houston is the fourth-largest city in America, known as much for its diversity as its energy-capital status. George Bush High School, part of the Fort Bend school district, is 43 percent Hispanic, 38 percent black, 12 percent Asian and 4 percent white. More than 90 languages and dialects are spoken in the district.
Early Saturday morning in the upscale Tanglewood area, Houstonians paused at the gates at South Post Oak Lane and North West Oak Drive — the entrance to the gated community where Mr. Bush lived. Someone draped an American flag in the center of the gates, decorated for the holidays with Christmas wreaths.
Shirley Matthews, 66, a lifelong Houstonian who lives nearby, walked up and took a picture of the memorial for her mother. “He was just a good person,” she said. “He wasn’t perfect. But it’s family, and we love each other.”
A Close Race, a Mysterious Ballot and Control of Alaska’s House at Stake
With a crucial legislative seat in Alaska teetering toward a tie earlier this month, lawmakers in Juneau braced for the possibility of a coin toss deciding control of the state’s House of Representatives. Then a mysterious extra ballot emerged that threw the process into further disarray.
Amid several counts, the latest coming on Friday afternoon, a single ballot drew scrutiny across the state.
The state’s review board certified the race, between Kathryn Dodge, a Democrat, and Bart LeBon, a Republican, as a tie earlier this week, with exactly 2,661 votes going to each candidate. The extra ballot, for Ms. Dodge, could have settled the race for the Fairbanks-area district seat.
Later on Friday, the mystery appeared to have been solved — but the standoff over who won the election continued.
Samantha Miller, a spokeswoman for the state elections office, said that workers at Fairbanks’s No. 6 precinct told officials that a woman had come into the polling place to request a special needs ballot on behalf of her husband, who was outside in a vehicle.
The woman came back into the precinct. Her husband had made a mistake, she told the precinct worker, and needed a new ballot. She left behind the one he had already marked, thus making it a spoiled ballot.
The precinct chair told the worker who took the spoiled ballot to put it into a secrecy sleeve, “and that they would deal with it later in the day,” Ms. Miller said.
But instead, the spoiled ballot was put into a compartment with other questioned ballots.
Typically, Ms. Miller said, spoiled ballots are destroyed once they are accounted for. So, because the mystery ballot was found to be spoiled, it will not be counted, she said.
Still, that left the question of what happens if the recount that began on Friday afternoon ends in a tie — again.
Ms. Miller said that both candidates had five days to file a legal challenge to the results. And if the court decided the recount went as it should have, and the race was still a tie?
The prevailing candidate would be determined “by lot,” Ms. Miller said. “It could be a coin toss or some other way of deciding, as long as it’s random.”
It would not be the first time an Alaska race was determined by coin toss.
The state’s elections director at the time flipped an Alaska Mint medallion — the side with a walrus being heads and the side with the state seal being tails. It landed state seal side up.
Ms. Miller would not speculate about when the recount would be complete, but said both candidates were present, along with observers and officials.
Mr. LeBon did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Sara Harriger, a spokeswoman for Ms. Dodge, said in a statement that during Friday’s recount, one additional vote was found for Ms. Dodge and a challenged ballot was allowed for her opponent, Mr. LeBon, which meant that the tally stood at 2,662 apiece. Still tied.
Ms. Dodge said in a statement that she believed every legally cast ballot should be counted. “I just want everyone watching this process to take away a sense of confidence in our democratic system and a commitment to cast their votes in future races,” she said, “and knowing that their votes will matter.”
Ms. Dodge had said earlier on Friday that legal action “unfortunately” seemed probable.
“It’s certainly not what any of us expect when we set out to campaign, to find ourselves in a squeaker of this nature,” she said. “I hope we don’t have a coin toss. I don’t know quite what to say, but it doesn’t feel like it’s an appropriate way to settle an election.”
In Alaska, the repercussions of this race will be felt into the next legislative session, though party control of the House in Juneau will be far from clear-cut.
Political coalitions in Juneau do not always come down to party-line votes like in other state houses. Even if Ms. Dodge wins the race, Democrats would still not have an outright majority, and so members of the House will still be tasked with negotiating a coalition majority.
3 Killed After Pickup Truck Fleeing Border Patrol Hits Tire Spikes and Crashes
Three people in a packed pickup truck were killed on Thursday afternoon after the driver ran over tire spikes and crashed on a Southern California highway while trying to flee Border Patrol officers, the authorities said.
The officers turned on their vehicle’s emergency lights and began chasing the pickup truck on Interstate 8, near Boulevard, Calif., at around 4:20 p.m., according to the United States Customs and Border Protection. The authorities said they believed that the pickup truck had been illegally driven over the southern border and had crashed through an “iron bar vehicle barrier.” They said they identified it by matching a piece that was missing from the truck to one agents had spotted on the ground near the border, though they did not elaborate.
The pickup truck reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour, weaving between cars and bypassing others on the side of the highway, before it drove over spikes that the Border Patrol had placed on the road, the California Highway Patrol said. About a mile later, the truck spun out of control and flipped over, ejecting the nine people who were riding in the truck’s bed, the authorities said.
A woman inside the truck, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was killed, as were two people riding in the bed, the police said. Seven people who had “multiple serious injuries” were taken to the hospital, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection said.
The driver, a United States citizen whose name was not released, was the only person wearing a seatbelt, the agency said. The California Highway Patrol took the man into custody, but it was not clear whether he had been charged. The identities of the passengers in the truck have not been released either.
“The investigation into the smuggling incident is ongoing,” the spokesman said in an email, “and the Border Patrol is fully cooperating with the CHP in their investigation of the collision.”
About an hour after the crash, the Border Patrol stopped another vehicle that officers believed had crossed over the border with the pickup truck, the agency said. The driver of that car was also arrested.