Academy Award winners use pedestal for political activism

Glamorous dresses and this year’s best films weren’t the only things highlighted at the 87th annual Academy Award show on Feb. 22, 2015.

Many of the winning actors and actresses used their window of time to advocate for political reform, rather than simply thanking their moms or saying hello to their kids watching from home.

Among these was Sean Penn, who after joking about green cards, said he hoped the “latest generation of immigrants … can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.”

Another hot topic was wage equality, mentioned in Patricia Arquette’s speech after winning Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the film Boyhood. The actress said, “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 12.13.07 PMMeryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez clapped and cheered from the front row in agreement, and many took to twitter to express their opinions, including other professionals in the field.

In a second feminist movement of the night, Reese Witherspoon got the hashtag #askhermore trending on Instagram and Twitter, encouraging reporters and television broadcasters to ask more than the typical “Who are you wearing?” question famous for being asked on the red carpet.

Additionally, movies like Still Alice and The Theory of Everything prompted awareness for both Alzheimer’s and ALS by their winners’ speeches, creating an opportunity for this night of awards to be about more than the gold statues it’s famous for.


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