Picking up the feminist torch from Cate Blanchett’s Oscar speech last year ("The world is round, people!"), Best Supporting Actress winner Patricia Arquette ("Boyhood") gave last night’s ceremony its first jolt by calling for equal rights and equal pay for women at the podium.
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” declared Arquette. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”
The crowd roared, but none could match the enthusiasm of Meryl Streep. The "Into the Woods" nominee yelled, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" while her seatmate Jennifer Lopez arguably clapped harder than anyone else in the room.
Still, Blanchett’s call for more movies about women was as relevant as ever. Among last year’s top 100 films, only 12% featured a female protagonist — down from 15% in 2013. That lack of stories about girls and women onscreen was reflected by the fact that Julianne Moore’s Best Actress vehicle "Still Alice" and Best Foreign Language Film "Ida" were the only two features with a female protagonist to win in any category at this year’s ceremony, and both were directed by men.
That disparity reflects the vast disconnect seen last night between the equality-minded speeches (not just for women, but also gays, African-Americans, Latinos, immigrants of all shades) on the one hand, and the largely monochromatic nominees (and studio/multiplex offerings as a whole) on the other.
Women did triumph in one field last night. Laura Poitras and Ellen Goosenberg Kent took home the Documentary Feature and Documentary Short Film for "Citizenfour" and "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1," respectively. If you haven’t yet seen Poitras’ singular film, it will air tonight on HBO at 9 PM and be available on demand via HBO Go.
Here are the female winners of Oscar 2015:
ACTRESS: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
COSTUME DESIGN: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Milena Canonero
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” dir. Ellen Goosenberg Kent