‘Fargo’ Actress Frances McDormand Addresses Sexism at Cannes: ‘We’ve Never Been Paid Commensurately’

Arthur Mola/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP Images
Arthur Mola/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP Images

Actress Frances McDormand, best known for her role in 1996’s Fargo, is speaking out about sexism at Cannes.

During a panel for Women in Film at the Cannes Film Festival, the 57-year-old addressed the definition of feminism and said the word “got branded a little bit askew,” before discussing the high heel controversy.

“So that ‘having it all’ was taken completely out of context. Having it all is not what the movement was saying was going to happen, the movement was saying we have the right to experience everything that we choose. But the main point was equal pay for equal work,” she said.

McDormand said at this point in her career she has never received equal pay, and only one time during her career as an actor has she received her going quote, which she says was less then a male actor of a similar status’ rate.

“I worked very hard for that money, I’m very proud of my work. I’m glad I did that film and I’m proud that I finally got paid what I was told I was worth by the industry,” she said.

“But that is nothing. That is a tenth of what most males my age, with my experience and my reputation as a film actor make. We’ve never been paid commensurately and that has to change,” she added.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, McDormand continued to revisit the mantra, “give us the money,” saying the lack of female directors in the industry is a not a numbers problem, but a perception problem.

“It has a lot to do with how we’ve ghettoized females, and we’ve allowed ourselves to be ghettoize and marginalized …We don’t need a lot of initiatives for women in film, what we need is money,” she explained.

McDormand continued: “We’re keeping the conversation back a little bit by saying we need help. We don’t need help, we need money. We need platforms, we need voices, but we don’t need help.”

Earlier in the discussion, an audience member cited Meryl Streep as an actress that can command a male-sized salary, but McDormand didn’t agree.

“I doubt that she has ever been paid commensurately with the male movie stars she’s worked with,” she said.

McDormand credits her first successful endeavor as a producer to her experience as a stay at home mom.

“One of the reasons I am successful as a producer is that I’ve been very successful housewife,” she said. “All the skills of housewifery are the ones I’m using as a producer. I don’t mean that facetiously because it’s a f*cking job, it’s a hard job.”

The Oscar-winning actress also weighed in on the highly debated “flatgate” controversy which took place at Cannes, where women were allegedly turned away from red carpet screenings for not wearing high heels.

“I’m much more of a sneaker person, but I think they think that flats are the road to ruin and I’m going to end up in [sneakers] on the red carpet,” said McDormand, who also said she’s been following the apparent mandatory heel regulation on the red carpet since she has attended the festival the past 30 years.

“But we all know that Roger Vivier makes a beautiful flat that is more elegant than some of … these shoes women are wearing now,” she continued. “I say flats.”

“Just like Ginger Rogers new with Fred Astaire, you have to do it backwards and in heels,” she joked.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.