There were plenty of breathtaking moments from the Oscars last night: Graham Moore's brave acceptance speech, Lady Gaga's masterful "Sound of Music" tribute, and, of course, John Legend and Common's moving performance of "Glory."
But this was the moment that brought Meryl Streep to her feet and caused her to jab her finger in the air as she screamed "YES!" over and over again.
After thanking the usual suspects, such as her friends and family and the cast and crew of the 12-year project Boyhood, she concluded her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress with a rousing call to action:
"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!"
So not only did Arquette do a brilliant job depicting a powerful single mother and all her struggles in Boyhood, she also devoted a major chunk of her speech to an important feminist cause. In other words, she's killing it.
Despite the success of female-driven franchises like Twilight, women are still treated like second-class citizens in Hollywood. Recall the Sony hack revelation that Jennifer Lawrence, star of the massively lucrative Hunger Games franchise, made less than her male co-stars in American Hustle. A study also showed that women made up only 12% of all lead protagonists in the top-grossing films of 2014.
In the Oscars press room, Arquette elaborated on her speech: "We don't have equal rights for women in America and we don't because the people who wrote the Constitution, it wasn't intended for women. The truth is, even if it sort of feels as if there are equal rights in America, right under the surface there are huge issues that are at play that really do affect women."
Clearly, Hollywood (and pretty much every other industry) has a serious problem, so Arquette was right to call them out for it. Once the applause has died down, we're anxious to see if the industry takes any kind of action.
You can watch her entire speech below:
(h/t The Daily Beast)
Photo Credit: Getty Images