Last night was a big moment for Oscar winners attaching a message to their speeches instead of the usual thanking of family, friends and co-workers. Whether it was an empowering message for depressed teens, a battle cry on unfair wages for women or simply asking their fellow countrymen to take a shot, here are the best five speeches given at last night’s broadcast.
1) Graham Moore for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game
“Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out at all of these disconcertingly attractive faces. And I do,” Moore said in his speech. “And that’s the most unfair thing I think I’ve ever heard.”
“In this brief time here, what I want to use it to do is to say this: When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong,” Moore said. “And now, I’m standing here and I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere: Yes, you do. I promise you do. 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 to the next person who comes along.”
2) Patricia Arquette for Best Supporting Actress in Boyhood
“Okay, Jesus. Thank you to the Academy, to my beautiful, powerful nominees. To IFC, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland, Molly Madden, David DeCamillo, our whole cast and our crew. My Boyhood family, who I love and admire. Our brilliant director Richard Linklater. The impeccable Ethan Hawke. My lovelies, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater. Thomas and Paul, thank you for giving me my beautiful children. Enzo and Harlow, you’re the deepest people that I know.
My friends who all work so hard to make this world a better place. To my parents, Rosanna, Richmond, Alexis and David. To my favorite painter in the world, Eric White, for the inspiration of living with a genius. To my heroes, volunteers and experts who have helped me bring ecological sanitation to the developing world with GiveLove.org.
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.”
3) J.K. Simmons for Best Supporting Actor in Whiplash
“Thank you. Thank you to the Academy. Thank you to everyone involved in the making of Whiplash.
And I am grateful every day for the most remarkable person I know, my wife, the wonderful Michelle Schumacher. I’m grateful for your love, your Kindness, your wisdom, your Sacrifice and your patience, which brings me to the above average children. Even though I may try their patience more, Joe and Olivia, you are extraordinary human beings, smart, funny, kind, loving people and that’s because you are a reflection of your mother.
“And if I may, call your mom. Everybody — I’m told there’s like a billion people or so. Call your mom, call your dad. If you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them.”
“Don’t text, don’t e-mail. Call them on the phone. Tell them you love them and thank them and will be to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”
Thank you. Thank you, Mom and Dad.”
4) John Legend and Common for Best Original Song [Selma]
Common: “First off, I’d like to thank God that lives in us all. Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation, but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and social status. 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 the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope. Welded with compassion. And elevated by love for all human beings.”
John Legend: “Thank you. Nina Simone said it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the voting rights, the 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 than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you that we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on.”
5) Pawel Pawlikowski for Best Foreign Film [Ida]
“Oh God, how did I get here? I made a film about, as you saw, black and white, about the need for silence and withdrawal from the world and contemplation, and here we are at this epicenter of noise and world attention. Fantastic, you know? Life is full of surprises.
I’d like to thank the Academy – I’m honored, surprised and overwhelmed. I’d like to thank the people who backed our film, the producers, Eric Abraham of Portabello, [names other producers] of the Polish Film Institute, and many others. They backed, oh and the U.S. distributor who did a great job for very little money.”
[Music starts first time]
“Oh, wrap up. Good. So quick – and to my Polish friends who are in front of the TV, the crew, who were in the trenches with us and who are totally drunk now, you are fantastic. You were brilliant, you carried me through this film.”
[Music grows louder]
“And you are what I love about Poland. You are resilient, with courage, brave and funny, and you can take a drink. And I would like to dedicate this to my late wife and my parents-”
“- who are not among the living but who are totally inside this film and have a lot to do with the film. And my children, who are hopefully watching, who are still alive. Thank you, thank you. Victor and Maria, I love you-”
[Music starts again]
“- you are the main pride of my life. Thank you!”
Good on you, Oscar winners, for having a message to share and – for some – refusing to be played off until everyone was drinking.