Fame, Fortune and Activism

All eyes were on Hollywood last night for the 87th Annual Academy Awards. While the celebration is an opportunity to honor achievement in film production, last night’s awards sparked larger conversations that had nothing to do with movies.

Big winners of the night used the spotlight as a platform to promote various social causes: Patricia Arquette urged equal pay for women in her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in Boyhood. Having starred in films about people battling debilitating disease, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne spread awareness for Alzheimer’s and ALS, respectively, in their acceptance speeches for Best Actor/Actress.

My personal favorite line of the night came from Graham Moore when accepting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game: “Stay weird. Stay different. When it’s you up here on the stage, pass along the same message.” I haven’t seen the movie but something about this line brought me back to my pre-teen years, not quite fitting in among my peers and fantasizing about becoming an actress someday.

They say that with power comes responsibility. If we consider fame equal to power, last night’s Oscar winners took responsibility by using their power to accomplish something other than entertainment. It’s awesome and so inspiring to see leaders in the media and public eye promote causes that may not otherwise get as much attention.

As with anything, there will always be opposition – people who disagree with what was said or the way it was said. In turn, that starts a whole other conversation. But at the end of the day, I think it’s safe to say everyone is fighting for something.

While it’s no surprise to see stars endorse causes they’re passionate about, the sheer amount of activism on the awards last night struck me. As someone who once thought about a career as an actress, it’s refreshing. Go Hollywood.

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