According to social media, The Oscars were uneventful. I thought quite the opposite. I enjoyed seeing the accomplishments of those who truly have worked to be the best they can be in their craft. Whether a writer, actor, actress, composer, whatever the role, the time and effort to be the best is truly amazing to watch. I am not one who is into the way someone dresses or looks, but what they do with the gifts and talents they are given. I was quite impressed with several of the award recipients and performers and the way they used the opportunity to speak out about important issues. The highlights for me were: 1. Best Supporting Actress winner Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech for her portrayal of Olivia Evans in Richard Linklater's Boyhood. Ms. Arquette used her speech to highlight pay inequality. During her speech, she said: '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.' 2.  In her Best Leading Actress acceptance speech, Julianne Moore said “I’m grateful for this and for the opportunity to stand up here and thank people that I love,” said Moore, who’d already won a Golden Globe, the BAFTA, and a SAG Award, among other awards for playing a linguistic professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. “So many people with this disease feel isolated and marginalized and one of the wonderful things about movies is it makes us feel seen and not alone. And people with Alzheimer’s deserve to be seen, so that we can find a cure,” said Moore, who’d turned her fifth Oscar nom — and first in 12 years — into tonight’s win. 3.  John Legend and Common took home an Oscar last night for best original song for “Glory” from Ava DuVernay’s film Selma. It was the only award the movie won last night, though the film was also nominated for best picture. Legend, who is also an activist when it comes to social justice and education, gave a memorable speech in which he compared the number of 19th-century slaves with the number of Americans currently incarcerated in the United States. “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world,” Legend said. “There are more black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850.” Common also chimed in, stating that it’s important to use the Oscars as a platform to highlight present-day social issues.  “To whom much is given, much is required,” he said. These are great examples that the only thing that has ever changed anything in this world is when someone had the courage and opportunity to speak up. I challenge all of us to use our voices and speak for those who have no voice, who need our ability to be vulnerable and make a difference.

Written by Mari Ann Callais

I am an educator, speaker, facilitator and consultant. I have been working with organizations and college campuses for more than 25 years. I believe in the power of the individual to change the world around them and I work to empower those to live values based lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *