As we reported when this year’s Academy Award nominations were announced last month, the 2015 Oscars will not be remembered as a celebration of diversity. There were no women recognized in writer or director categories. There were no black actors, actresses, writers, or directors honored. And Selma, universally acknowledged as one of the year’s most powerful films, was snubbed in every category except Best Picture and Original Song.

In last night’s Oscars telecast, host Neil Patrick Harris couldn’t resist pointing this out first thing. “Tonight, we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest—I mean brightest.”

This was met with uneasy laughter and some self-conscious eye-rolling. But as the show got underway, it became apparent that Hollywood—at least the A-listers at the Dolby Theater—wanted the world to know that they were not okay with the current state of affairs. In fact, an unprecedented number of winners used their acceptance speeches to draw attention to causes ranging from women’s rights to racial equality, post-traumatic stress syndrome to Alzheimer’s disease to filial love and responsibility.

Accepting the first award of the evening for his performance as the brutal music teacher in Whiplash, Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons received a standing ovation. After thanking his wife and children, Simmons issued a heartfelt plea to the audience: “If I may, call your mom. Everybody— I’m told there’s like a billion people or so. Call your mom, call your dad. If you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them. Don’t text, don’t e-mail. Call them on the phone. Tell them you love them and thank them and [talk] as long as they want to talk to you.”


As expected, Patricia Arquette was recognized as Best Supporting Actress for her poignant portrayal of the mother in Boyhood. After thanking her director, fellow cast members, and family, Arquette passionately declaimed, “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!” One of the evening’s most memorable images was the “You go, girl!” reaction of audience members Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez.

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  • annie vanderven February 24, 2015 at 11:30 am

    No one spoke about the condition of women in the world at this moment ,the violence against them , I agree equal pay is a problem but many things come into it which I won’t get into now (look at the pay of the women at the White House or what Hillary Clinton paid her women staff when she was senator in NY…. But there is a far more urgent problem concerning women around the world. Make your voices heard at the UN, but can we expect that in Hollywood beside lip service…

  • Elizabeth Hemmerdinger February 24, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Women were even snubbed in the memorial section, as they left out Elaine Stritch (ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME was her last on-screen performance) and Joan Rivers. Really?