Best Actress winner Frances McDormand calls on all female nominees to stand with her
One new Oscar stands tall in honor of Three Billboards star Frances McDormand.
The beloved performer won her second overall Academy Award for Best Actress Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, taking the prestigious achievement during the 90th Oscars ceremony over fellow contenders Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), and Meryl Streep (The Post).
“So I’m hyperventilating a little bit, so if I fall over, pick me up because I’ve got some things to say,” the actress kicked off her acceptance speech, comparing her emotions to Chloe Kim’s Olympic half-pipe run. “We are a bunch of hooligans and anarchists, but we do clean up nice.”
She went on to thank her husband, Joel Coen, and their son Pedro, before placing her statuette on the floor and saying, “And now I want to get some perspective. If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees in all the categories stand with me tonight…”
As her fellow nominees stood, McDormand said, “We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,” before calling on stars to demand inclusion riders — or requirements for gender or racial diversity — in their contracts.
McDormand has won two Oscars from five total nominations. She took her first in 1997 for leading the cast of the 1996 classic Fargo, directed by Ethan and Joel Coen — the latter of whom McDormand married in 1984.
Her Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri triumph in the role of Mildred Hayes — a grieving mother who takes her local police department to task for failing to apprehend he daughter’s murderer by erecting the film’s titular signage in opposition to their practices — comes after she steamrolled the 2017-18 awards season precursors. In recent months, McDormand took best actress prizes at the Critics Choice Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, and the Golden Globes.
“I believed there were places where Mildred simply can’t access her emotions. So why be afraid of that? Everybody is f—ing crying in movies all the time, even the men! For me, that’s not Greek tragedy, it’s a therapy session,” she told EW of laying the groundwork for the character with McDonagh. “It’s about neuroses and not pain and rage. There’s something healing about tears. If Mildred’s emotions are so accessible, if she can so easily go to tears, then why is she so filled with rage? Because if you can cry out the pain, you don’t need to burn down the police station. So I was interested in her being locked out of her own humanity.”
In an uncharacteristic move for the Academy, nearly all of 2018’s Best Actress nominees appear in films also nominated for Best Picture (I, Tonya‘s Robbie being the only exception) amid an awards season stretch that has seen industry voters rally around diverse voices in filmmaking (from Lady Bird‘s Greta Gerwig to Get Out‘s Jordan Peele).
The last time a film won Best Picture with an accompanying Best Actress nomination came during the 2005 Oscars ceremony, when Clint Eastwood’s 2004 drama Million Dollar Baby nabbed both statuettes.