The activism expressed in acceptance speeches and music at the Oscars on Sunday was wonderful.
It ranged from Ferguson, Mo., and racial injustice, to equal pay for women, to overcoming suicide, to meaningful immigration reform, to Alzheimer’s disease, to Lou Gehrig’s disease. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, in winning the Oscar for best picture for “Birdman,” 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.”
Neil Patrick Harris, who emceed the nationally televised program, also made fun of the diversity void at the Oscars, saying, “Today we honor Hollywood's best and whitest. Sorry...¦brightest.”
“Glory” by Common and John Legend won an Oscar for best song in the movie, “Selma.” In it the singers spoke of Ferguson, connecting the problems black people faced 50 years ago in the march for voting rights to the continuing inequality and injustice today.
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Patricia Arquette in her Oscar acceptance speech called for equal rights for women. “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen in this nation: We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality in the U.S.,” said Arquette, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress as the mother in “Boyhood.”
Julianne Moore, who won the Oscar for best actress in “Still Alice,” spoke out about Alzheimer’s disease and the need for it to receive more attention. Eddie Redmayne, who won the Oscar for best actor in “The Theory of Everything,” spoke of ALS and the people who bravely fight it.
Graham Moore, who won an Oscar for the best adapted screenplay for “The Imitation Game,” highlighted overcoming suicide.
“When I was 16, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong,” he said. “I would like this moment to be for the kid out there who feels like she’s weird and different and feels like she doesn’t belong. “Yes, you do.”
The voice given to the concerns just needs to be converted into funding and action so that change is possible.