As if trying to make up for the middling in-between material, last night’s Oscar winners dished out some surprising and eloquent speeches. There were few laundry lists — rambling off the names of every agent and publicist. Instead, the awards recipients brought to the podium some affecting messages. Here are some of the stand-outs:
Patricia Arquette for best supporting actress for “Boyhood”
Message: “It’s time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Arquette’s acceptance speech was one of the most rousing of the evening as she dedicated her win to “every women who gave birth.” She even got Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez whooping along to her message.
Common and John Legend (a.k.a. Lonnie Lynn and John Stephens) for best original song, “Glory” from “Selma”
Message: “’Selma’ is now, because the struggle for justice is right now.”
If Arquette’s speech got audience members out of their seats, then the speeches from these two musicians got the most tearful reception. After an emotional performance (during which David Oyelowo and Chris Pine visibly teared up), Legend took his stage time to remind people of the staggering incarceration rate for black men in the U.S.
Graham Moore, best adapted screenplay for “The Imitation Game”
Message: “Stay weird. Stay different.”
Moore made a boldly personal admission during his acceptance speech, letting viewers know that he tried to commit suicide at 16. He said that he felt at the time that he didn’t fit in, so he spent his time on stage delivering a message to kids who feel like outsiders, letting them know that it gets easier.
J.K. Simmons for best supporting actor for “Whiplash”
Message: “Call your parents.”
Simmons gave a shout-out to his wife and “above average” children before advising viewers to call their mothers and fathers. “Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone. Tell them you love them, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you,” he said. And after his scary performance in “Whiplash,” who are we to argue?
Pawel Pawlikowski for best foreign language film for “Ida”
Message: No one can make you leave the stage.
Pawlikowski pulled a brilliant move while he was onstage accepting his award. When the music began to play him offstage, he said “Oh, wrap up. Good. Okay!” But then he didn’t. He just kept talking, until the music stopped. Then it started again, but by then he was ready to leave.
Julianne Moore for best actress for “Still Alice”
Message: “People with Alzheimer’s disease deserve to be seen.”
Moore started things off on a light note, saying she heard that winning an Oscar adds five years to your life, which is particularly helpful to her since she’s married to a younger man. She then talked about how “Still Alice” shines a light on Alzheimer’s disease, which is not just an incurable condition, but also an incredibly isolating one.
Eddie Redmayne for best actor in “The Theory of Everything”
Message: “This belongs to all the people around the world battling ALS.”
Like Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne played a character afflicted with an incurable disease, in this case real-life physicist Stephen Hawking.
Alejandro González Iñárritu for best director, “Birdman”
Message: Michael Keaton’s tighty whities are magical. And true art can’t be compared, labeled or defeated.
As a good luck charm, Iñárritu claimed he was wearing the underwear Michael Keaton famously dashed through Times Square in during “Birdman.” “It worked, I’m here. Thank you, Michael,” he said after accepting his second of three Oscars last night. He went on to say that, even though awards night is all about ego and competition, true art isn’t about winners or losers. “Our work only will be judged, as always, by time,” he said.
Dana Perry and Ellen Goosenberg Kent for best documentary short, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
Message: Suicide is a crisis that should be talked about out loud.
Producer Perry dedicated the award to her son, who committed suicide at 15.