Patricia Arquette seized her moment on the Oscar stage to deliver a powerful call for wage equality for women.
Arquette won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the 12-years-in-the-making “Boyhood” and was in the midst of wrapping up a prepared speech when she segwayed into an undeniably feminist message.
“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 our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.,” Arquette said to rapturous applause from the Academy Award crowd.
Arquette’s remarks had added resonance because they came in the wake of hacked Sony Entertainment emails made public last year, which revealed what has long been suspected – that female stars and executives are paid dramatically less than their male peers.
The actress was widely seen as the frontrunner for the award, but few anticipated the political nature of her remarks. She also name-checked an ecological sanitation charity called givelove.org. Her name became a trending topic shortly after her rousing speech.
The call for equal pay also came during a ceremony that was already buzzing about the #askhermore hashtag, which encouraged red carpet interviewers to ask female Oscar attendees about more than their outfits.
The hashtag was championed by Best Actress nominee Reese Witherspoon.
“This is a movement to say we’re more than just our dresses,” Witherspoon said during a pre-show interview. “There are 44 nominees this year that are women and we are so happy to be here and talk about the work that we’ve done. It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood, or any industry.”