From the activists who joined Common and Andra Day on stage to Frances McDormand's "inclusion rider," we've got answers to your burning Oscar questions.
You'd think with a running time of approximately six days and four hours, the 90th Academy Awards would have satisfied everything we ever wanted to know about the world of filmmaking in 2018, and yet viewers found themselves with some burning questions still lingering into Monday morning.
The Oscars celebrated a record-breaking year for inclusion and diversity, honoring its oldest-ever winner, its first black screenwriter and ushering in a new post-Weinstein era with the returns of Annabella Sciorra, Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Mira Sorvino, among other #MeToo pioneers. At the same time, Ryan Seacrest was awkwardly perched atop the red carpet seeking interviews even as details of his alleged sexual misconduct had just surfaced.
In a politically charged year with a variety of social movements represented and in the public discourse, Common and Andra Day invited ten activists to stand with them on stage during their performance of the Oscar-nominated song "Stand Up for Something" from "Marshall." The song has become an anthem for change and activism, so their inclusion was a perfect statement that Time's Up and change is here.
But it also raised a question the show never answered. While some of the faces in the background might have been recognized, like #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, more of them remained unknown. And while the identities of the brave activists spotlighted on Hollywood's biggest night was a huge question that lingered through the night, it was't the only one.
Below are the six biggest questions we still had after the Oscars wrapped, and the answers we've found, plus a bonus one we may never get the answer for. We're looking at you, Jen Garner.
Who Are the Activists Who Joined Common and Andra Day On-Stage?
"The activists we asked to join us on stage are people who have dedicated their lives to making the world better," Common told the Los Angeles Times prior to the ceremony. "For some because their own personal experiences have driven them to this place, and some because they’ve seen the injustices going on in the world and felt they had to take action."
Andra Day echoed Common's sentiments, saying they "wanted to show people who are working everyday in the trenches to transform perceptions, circumstances, legislation, social and political landscapes, and bring hope to the hopeless."
Here are the ten women, men and children who joined them on-stage:
- Bana Alabed - 8-year-old Syrian refugee, author of "Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace"
- José Andrés - winner of the 2015 National Humanities Medal, has served more than 3.3 million meals in post-Maria Puerto Rico
- Alice Brown Otter - 14-year-old #NoDAPL activist who ran 1,519 miles from Standing Rock to Army Corps of Engineers to protest Dakota Access Pipeline.
- Tarana Burke - founder of the #MeToo hashtag and movement
- Patrice Cullors - co-founder of Black Lives Matter movement, queer activist
- Nicole Hockley - mother of child killed at Sandy Hook, founder/managing director for non-profit Sandy Hook Promise
- Dolores Huerta - co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez in 1962
- Janet Mock - founder of #GirlsLikeUs, trans activist, bestselling author
- Cecile Richards - president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
- Bryan Stevenson - director of Equal Justice Initiative
What Is an "Inclusion Rider"?
After her win for Best Actress, Frances McDormand called on Hollywood to acknowledge all of the Oscar-nominated women in the room by financing their projects and allowing their stories to be told. She closed her rousing speech with the statement, "I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider."
So what is that? Backstage, McDormand admitted that she had only recently learned herself, but explained that a star can "ask for and/or demand at least 50 percent diversity in not only the casting, but also the crew," as reported by E!
The idea of an "inclusion rider" was first broached at a TED Talk in 2016 by Annenberg Inclusion Initiative founder Stacy Smith. "The typical feature film has about 40 to 45 speaking characters in it. I would argue that only eight to 10 of those characters are actually relevant to the story," Smith said at the Talk. "The remaining 30 or so roles, there's no reason why those minor roles can't match or reflect the demography of where the story is taking place. An equity rider by an A-lister in their contract can stipulate that those roles reflect the world in which we actually live."
Why Was Jodie Foster on Crutches?
Sorry, Ms. Foster, but we're not completely buying the story that Meryl Streep "I, Tonya"-ed you. Jennifer Lawrence joined Jodie Foster on stage as replacement presenters for last year's Best Actor winner Casey Affleck, who sat this one out after facing harassment allegations of his own.
Foster and Lawrence both leaned into the accusation that it was Streep that did her in, with Lawrence adding that Streep had once tripped her -- a likely allusion to her own infamous spill on the Oscar stage five years ago. But neither offered up the real reason Foster was on crutches.
Well, it turns out the reality isn't nearly as exciting as the narrative of a pointlessly vengeful Meryl Streep attacking her fellow actresses. Entertainment Weekly spoke with her publicist, who confirmed that she'd injured herself after a fall while skiing ... but do we know for sure that Streep wasn't there?
Where Have We Seen That Dress Before?
Tiffany Haddish was memorable throughout the night, from her insta-classic presentation alongside Maya Rudolph to her Eritrean red carpet dress. But one look had us doing a triple take, and we are here for it. While she honored her heritage and her father with her red carpet look, it was later in the show that she donned a dress that is becoming as famous as she is.
Haddish first drew attention to the dress the second time she wore it, during her hosting stint on "Saturday Night Live" last last year. At the time, she said her "people" had advised she not wear it again as it was bad luck, but Haddish isn't about that. As she told the "SNL" crowd, this was a $4,000 dress and she was going to wear it over and over again! She even showed up later in the show during "Weekend Update" just so she could wear it.
And then, on the Oscar stage, there it was again. Fearlessly worn for the third time (she debuted it at the "Girls Trip" premiere this past summer), Haddish made no mention of the dress while presenting alongside Rudolph. But her fans knew, and they were loving her for keeping it real.
So Who Did Talk to Ryan Seacrest?
One of the most controversial moves of the night was E! standing by their man by keeping Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet, even as details of his alleged sexual misconduct surfaced. Seacrest maintains his innocence and an internal investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing in the case, but this remains a sensitive time in Hollywood with #MeToo and #TimesUp dominating the conversation throughout the awards season.
As the network doubled down on their guy, many publicists started to suggest that they would steer their clients away from Seacrest on the red carpet, and it looks as if that may be just what happened. None of the Best Actress nominees spoke to him, and on a show that usually involves both Seacrest and co-host Giuliana Rancic talking non-stop with stars, this felt more than a little hollow. Rancic wasn't even on the carpet, with some speculating this was so stars wouldn't go to her instead of Seacrest.
All of that's not to say no one spoke with Seacrest. While it was a far cry from the big names he's used to chatting with, Entertainment Weekly broke down the 21 people who did stop by and chat with him, including Miguel, Gael Garcia Bernal, Mary J. Blige, Andra Day (w/ Common), Whoopi Goldberg, Eiza Gonzalez, Tiffany Haddish, Taraji P. Henson, Allison Janney, Richard Jenkins, Rita Moreno, Christopher Plummer, Kelly Ripa (w/ Mark Consuelos), Andy Serkis, Donald Sutherland, Diane Warren, and Bradley Whitford (w/ Lil Rel Howery and Betty Gabriel).
Did Taraji P. Henson Throw Shade at Ryan Seacrest?
A presenter on the night, "Empire" star Taraji P. Henson had the most controversial exchange with Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet, with many on Twitter thinking she threw some major shade at the "Live" and "American Idol" host.
"The universe has a way of taking care of good people," Henson told Seacrest. Then, with a touch on his chin, she added, "You know what I mean?" While some saw shade, others saw this as a simple line of support from a friend. Still, the shade narrative picked up steam after Henson next spoke with ABC's Wendi McLendon-Covey, telling her, "I'm great now that I'm in your company."
So was it shade or support? "I did it to keep his chin up," Henson told People of the moment. "It's an awkward position to be in. He's been cleared but anyone can say anything." When asked if she supported him, she replied, "Absolutely!" So no shade there.
What Did Jennifer Garner Realize?
What realization did Jennifer Garner just come to? pic.twitter.com/pWtycEDEVs— bobby finger (@bobbyfinger) March 5, 2018
As a bonus, we're throwing in this question for which we may never get a satisfactory answer. Footage was captured of Jennifer Garner looking like she had come to some horrific realization, and the moment became an instant meme. And as it finds new life on the Internet, we may never know what it was that caused such dawning horror to grow on her face. But we hope everything turned out okay.
Any guesses? Note: the reaction came after Common and Andra Day's performance of "Stand Up for Something."