Although feelings have been mixed about the recent Academy Awards (our Alexandra MacAaron called it “lackluster” at best and our live bloggers struggled to stay awake. Yikes!), in this week’s Wednesday 5 we nevertheless highlight five triumphant moments that we think speak to some of the very serious issues we at Women’s Voices tackle year round.
A Tribute to Women & Mothers
First notes are important. And boy, did Jared Leto set the tone for the night. Admittedly, we were surprised that the one to deliver one of the more powerful messages, about motherhood and single-motherhood would come in the shape and form of Leto. (Jared, we apologize for not paying enough attention to you in the past; we’ve learned our lesson! You are a man of substance—and great hair). Here’s Leto’s text and video of his tribute to his mother.
“In 1971, there was a teenage girl, who was pregnant with her second child; she was a high school dropout and single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children . . . that girl is my mother, and she’s here tonight. I just want to say, ‘I love you, Mom; thank you for teaching me to dream.”
Calling Out the Myths About Women in Hollywood
We could hear our Paige Morrow Kimball, our go-to-expert on all things women in Hollywood, affirming “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as the 44-year-old Cate Blanchett called out the double standards for women in Hollywood. Kimball could have scripted Blanchett’s acceptance speech herself, writing on her post-Ocar blog, “I’ve been saying all along: Movies about Women Make Money! Hooray Cate!!!” Here are Blanchett’s words:
“To those within the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences, they are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money.”
Watch the video here.
No Longer Overshadowed
There was nothing that said she belongs in the “background” as the 72-year-old Darlene Love took to the stage to accept the Oscar for Best Documentary feature for the film 20 Feet From Stardom, which tells the stories of backup singers for some of the most iconic performers of our time. Love belted out “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” and gave voice to all the women in her field. Even more good news, we learned that OWN acquired the television rights to Love’s memoir, My Name Is Love: The Darlene Love Story, which will be adapted into a scripted television movie. Below is Love’s triumphant Oscar speech.
Making History for Women
We’ll leave you with your opinions about Ellen DeGeneres’s performance as a host (and there are many) and we’ll focus instead on the precedent she has set. In the 86-year history of the Academy Awards, only TWO women have served as featured hosts (we’re not counting co-hosts). Two out of eighty-six! Wow! And, those two women have been repeats: Whoopi Goldberg did it three times at the Oscars—1995, 1998, and 2001. Ellen DeGeneres first hosted the awards in 2007. And what did we get on Sunday night? In lieu of perverse sexual humor and insults for women (we’re looking at you, Seth MacFarlane), we got a show we could truthfully deem family-friendly. And yes, she still holds her title as the Queen of Nice. That pizza delivery man got a $1,000 tip. See the feel good moment below!
Breaking Ground for Kenyan Women
Lots has already been said about the lovely Lupita Nyong’o, who won the award for Best Supporting Actress. Lesser known is that she broke ground for being the first Kenyan to be nominated for, as well as win, an Oscar! We are thrilled to see her continue to break ground for all the categories in Hollywood she simultaneously occupies—immigrant women, Kenyan women, African women, and global women of color. Given her roots, these carefully chosen and eloquent words from her acceptance speech become even more meaningful:
“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”