Sunday's Academy Awards Ceremony Was The First Of The #MeToo Era
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
There are very few things in this world that would keep me up past my bedtime, but the Oscars is definitely one of them - and not just any Oscars awards ceremony, the first in the #MeToo era and probably the first Academy Awards where no one was thanking Harvey Weinstein. This is obviously the film producer accused of sexual abuse stretching back decades. Let's listen to Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel in his opening monologue.
(SOUNDBITE OF 90TH ACADEMY AWARDS)
JIMMY KIMMEL: We can't let bad behavior slide anymore. The world is watching us. We need to set an example. And the truth is, if we are successful here, if we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace - if we can do that, women will only have to deal with harassment all the time at every other place they go.
MARTIN: (Laughter) Journalist Ronan Farrow wrote The New Yorker story about Harvey Weinstein. It was one of the reports credited with exposing Weinstein's behavior and sending the #MeToo movement worldwide. And Ronan Farrow joins me now.
Hey, Ronan. Thanks for being here.
RONAN FARROW: Good to be here. Thanks, Rachel.
MARTIN: So I didn't watch the whole thing. But I don't think anyone even made a really veiled reference to Harvey Weinstein, did they?
FARROW: I mean, certainly, there were several - like the one you just mentioned - to the broader movement.
FARROW: But, you know, I think what we see now is a community really struggling to take that kind of nuclear blast of the Weinstein story and translate it into tangible, lasting change.
FARROW: They're trying.
MARTIN: This was one of the more powerful moments, I thought, when Frances McDormand won best actress for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." And at one point in her acceptance speech, she encouraged all the women nominees in every category to stand up. It was really powerful. This is how she ended the speech.
(SOUNDBITE OF 90TH ACADEMY AWARDS)
FRANCES MCDORMAND: I have two words to leave with you tonight. Ladies and gentlemen - inclusion rider.
MARTIN: What does that mean, Ronan? Putting you on the spot here, but what is an inclusion rider,
FARROW: Yeah. So, I mean, that's really what I'm referring to, that this is a community trying to turn this into more than just talk. And, you know, I really respect the initiative she took to talk about actual projects being raised and financed and to talk about contracts. An inclusion rider would be a provision added to, say, an actor's deal to say, hey, if you want to retain my services, movie studio, you have to have a, say, 50 percent minority and women crew. And, you know, I actually don't know how widespread the use of those kinds of contractual provisions are. But it'll be interesting to see if there is an uptick in the use of those provisions.
MARTIN: Right, and really notable that she got specific. Like, yes, it was about this moment and recognizing the talent in the room and the women who should be acknowledged, and then she was like, read the fine print. Like, make your contracts reflect the reality you want to see.
FARROW: Yeah, highly specific. And, look, this is going to be the struggle when it comes to representation, when it comes to harassment and assault. Is there going to be follow-on? Are the contracts going to change?
FARROW: Is the legislation going to change? Will the bylaws of the professional organizations change?
MARTIN: So I have to point out, because critics pointed this out, there was - it would appear to be some contrasting messages because on the one hand, you have this McDormand moment. You have the leaders of the Time's Up movement there on stage talking about how things have to change. And then you've got Kobe Bryant on stage, winning an Oscar for best animated short. Bryant was accused - never convicted - of rape in 2003. Gary Oldman, who's been accused of domestic violence - he won best actor. Ryan Seacrest has been accused of sexual harassment. He was working the red carpet, as he always does for E! So there's clearly some tension between the aspiration of the Me Too movement and the reality of it.
FARROW: Yeah. And you saw a proliferation of think pieces show up online very quickly about Kobe Bryant and some of the others that you mentioned. Look, I think we're at a point where we're seeing more conversation, at the very least. And the moment of inclusion and embrace of the women with allegations, some of whom I had interviewed - Annabella Sciorra, Mira Sorvino...
FARROW: ...Was a change, you know?
FARROW: These were allegations that were once shunned. So yes. Is there still a long way to go? Sure. But has there been some change? I think we're seeing signs of it.
MARTIN: Definitely. Ronan Farrow, contributing writer for The New Yorker. Thanks, Ronan.
FARROW: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.