The Top 10 Most Empowering Moments From The 2015 Oscars


Despite the lack of diversity in some of the biggest categories at the 2015 Academy Awards, there were some talk-worthy moments that happened and some of those deserve to go down in Oscars history.

We decided to compile a list of our top ten fave moments, not in any particular order, but which show that even during a broadcast dedicated to the arts and achievements of the film industry over the past year, creativity can be a powerful platform to share important messages that trickle down into our celebrity-obsessed society which, let’s be honest here, needs a good wake up call about certain issues.

So here we go.

1. Let’s start with Patricia Arquette’s speech for her Best Supporting Actress win for her role in ‘Boyhood’. She decided that it was a highly appropriate time to demand of the American taxpaying citizens to make wage equality a priority right now.


Her speech made such an impact that two female icons in their own field, Jennifer Lopez and Meryl Streep, stood up, whooped and clapped in agreement.


2. Host Neil Patrick Harris gave a Tony Awards-worthy introduction to the night but it was two jokes in particular that made mention to the fact that there were certain diverse elements missing from this year’s ceremony. In his intro he didn’t wait too long to address the element in the room.

“Today we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest…I mean brightest.”


During another segment where NPH claimed jokes said with an accent are generally funnier, he walked over to ‘Selma’ actor David Oyelowo in the audience to help him deliver some lines to prove his theory. After the audience applauded for the man who immortalized Martin Luther King, Jr., NPH threw in a quick dig at the Academy for his controversial Oscars snub in the Best Actor category. “Oh sure, now you like him,” he said with a grin.

Here is his full opening monolog and performance featuring Jack Black and Anna Kendrick, where he even jokingly sings about a Kanye West-like interruption (thank the Oscar gods it did NOT happen):

3. Winner for Best Adapted Screenplay went to Graham Moore from ‘The Imitation Game’ who paid homage to the film’s protagonist and real life hero/genius Alan Turing who, as you will know if you have seen the film, was so afraid of being gay that he married a woman so as to avoid social stigma.

Graham decided to use his win to acknowledge something that Alan never could.

“I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here,” he said. “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”

4. Julianne Moore who have a stunning performance of a real-life alzheimer’s sufferer in the adapted movie ‘Still Alice’ took home the prize for Best Actress in a leading role and said some beautiful things on stage.

First up she made it clear that “there’s no such thing as a Best Actress” and paid homage to her fellow female nominees Marion Cotillard (‘Two Days, One Night’), Reese Witherspoon (‘Wild’), Felicity Jones ‘The Theory of Everything’) and Rosamund Pike (‘Gone Girl’) and acknowledging the myriad of talent not just in her category, but in the industry as a whole.

She then dedicated the award to people who are fighting the disease and shone a light on an important health issue.

“I’m so happy, I’m thrilled that we were able to shine a light on Alzheimer’s disease,” she said. “So many people who have this disease feel marginalized. People who have Alzheimer’s disease deserve to be seen so we can find a cure.”

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and it is the most common form of dementia. Worldwide, nearly 44 million people are believed to be living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. By 2030, if breakthroughs are not discovered, we will see an increase to nearly 76 million. By 2050, rates could exceed 135 million, according to the Bright Focus Foundation. The majority of Alzheimer’s patients are over 60 years old, so for a younger woman to be suffering with this debilitating disease like Alice, it is not only rare but carries it’s own social stigma.


5. Although she did not take home the Best Actress win, Reese Witherspoon already won our hearts with something she shared on social media even before the awards got under way. In honor of the #askhermore campaign that has been heating up and demanding red carpet reporters ask more interesting questions of female celebs on the red carpet other than what they are wearing and how long it took to get ready, Reese made damn sure the Hollywood media knew she was going to be on the lookout for any superficial slip-ups by sharing this image on her Instagram account:


It was accompanied by this caption:

<3 this movement #AskHerMore..have you heard of it? It’s meant to inspire reporters to ask creative questions on the red carpet. I love the Oscars AND fashion like many of you – & am excited to share #WhoAmIWearinglater tonight. (not yet!!) But I’d also love to answer some of these Qs….And hear your suggestions?! (Share em below!) There are so many amazing, talented nominees this year..! Let’s hear their stories! Spread the word. #AskHerMore #Oscars #Countdown

On the red carpet she told ‘Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts “This is a movement to say we’re more than just our dresses. … It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood or any industry.”

The #askhermore campaign was originally started by the Representation Project during awards season in 2014, and picked up extra steam again in 2015 when Amy Poehler’s ‘Smart Girls’ organization decided to use it on social media this season as it was still very relevant.

6. The Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary, Short Subject categories featured female winners, and it is important to recognize the work women are doing in these genres even though they may not be the most talked about moments of the night. We are always going to seek out and pay homage to the work women do in all areas of the industry.

The film ‘Citizenfour’ based on the life and trials of NSA spy Edward Snowdon took home the Best Documentary award was not only directed but also produced by a woman: Laura Poitras, as well as her producing partners Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky. Well done!

The short ‘Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1’ had a handful of women in the top crew roles. Ellen Gooseberg Kent directed the film, Sheila Nevins and Dana Perry produced it, and Wendy Blackstone was the music supervisor.

“The most important decisions being made in secret affect all of us,” said ‘Citizenfour’s Laura Poitras during her acceptance speech. Edward Snowdon himself released a statement after the news of the film’s win, saying:

“The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”


7. Eddie Redmayne took home the award for Best Actor playing the incredible Stephen Hawking in the film ‘The Theory of Everything’ and he seemed absolutely blown away by his win! In his speech, where he admitted the reality of winning hadn’t hit him yet (perhaps he too, like every other pundit in the world, thought Michael Keaton would take home the award for ‘Birdman’), he also made it clear the award wasn’t for him but for Stephen and his family, and well as other people currently suffering with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou gehrig’s disease.

“This belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS. It belongs to one exceptional family, Stephen, Jane, Jonathan, and the Hawking children. And I will be its custodian and I will promise you I will look after him. I will polish him. I will answer his beck and call and I will wait on him hand and foot.”

There is no cure for ALS, and approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.


8. ‘Birdman’ director Alejandro Inarritu was the standout triple threat of the night winning awards for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film. It was during the acceptance speech for Best Film, arguably the biggest and most important award of the night, that he took the time to mention an important issue not only close to his heart, but something that is a political hot potato at the moment: Immigration.

“I want to dedicate this awards for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico,”  he said.

“I pray that we can find and build the government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country, who are part of the latest generation of immigrants, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.”

After many months and years of people protesting in favor of immigration reform and waiting for President Obama to make a move on this issue, immigrants all over the United States finally got some justice in November 2014 when he announced sweeping reforms that would see over 5 million undocumented immigrants apply for work permits and be protected from deportation.

However, due to the Republican majority Congress we have in power right now, a push back was bound to happen. They are trying to stop federal funding to allow the reforms to go through, but Obama and his administration have vowed to fight back even harder to ensure immigrants can be allowed to live and work as legal residents.

While we’re stoked for director Alejandro Inarritu and his trifecta win at the Oscars, we’re even more stoked that this proud Mexican took an albeit brief but well-documented moment to speak loud about an important issue.


9. OK you knew this one was coming. Musicians John Legend and Common won the Oscar for Best Original Song which was ‘Glory’ from the Oscar-nominated movie ‘Selma’, documenting the life of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. They both had some incredibly powerful things to say about how the world has changed yet not that much because Selma is still relevant to our cultural climate right now.

Common linked the civil rights movement to similar movements in France (in the aftermath of the horrific shooting of cartoonists in January at the hands of Islamic extremists) and Hong Kong (where China tried to impose new electoral rules in HK which would effectively eliminate democracy). He referenced the Edmund Pettus Bridge where the original Selma marches took place in 1965, named after the prominent Alabama Ku Klux Klan leader and Senator during the late 1800s.

“The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South Side of Chicago, dreaming of a better life, to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression, to those in Hong Kong, protesting for democracy,” he said. “This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated with love for all human beings.”


“We say that Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now,” John Legend said in his speech which gave us shivers, and still does.

“We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today then were under slavery in 1850. We are with you, we see you, we love you and march on.”

Which brings us to our final best moment of the Oscars 2015.

10. John Legend and Common performing ‘Glory’ from the film ‘Selma’ which was set to a backdrop recreated as the original Edmund Pettus bridge from the Selma marches. To see the two performers and a whole group of singes marching on the stage showed how much this world has changed in just 50 years, and yet how far we still have to go. Although America may have figuratively crossed that particular bridge, there are still many others to walk across that will bridge the divide between racial, economical, religious, cultural, sexual and gender divides in this country.

It was hands down the BEST performance of the night and reiterated what a powerful and loud impact music and art can make on the world. To all the performers, nominees and people involved in making creative content that can change the world and enlighten an individual human being, we salute you.


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