Note: This is part of our ongoing Women in Hollywood project. 

Generally speaking, folks don’t turn to awards show coverage for inspiration. However, Sunday night’s Academy Awards included some truly poignant moments from winners hoping to raise awareness for frequently marginalized and underrepresented groups (including those who live with ALS and Alzheimer’s disease and racial minorities who continue to struggle due to systemic inequalities).

Below, we’ve named our top three feminist moments — yes, the GIF you’re looking for is included — that showed promise of a turning tide in the film industry for women. Check them out, then let us know what your favorite moments were in the comments section!

1. Patricia Arquette’s Call for Gender Equality

Arquette was favored to win the Best Supporting Actress award after her groundbreaking turn as a single mother in “Boyhood.” The shock came when she took to the stage to accept the Oscar, and ended her speech with a passionate call for wage parity and equal rights for women. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” she said. By the time she was finished, the entire audience was on its feet — and so were we.

2. Laura Poitras’ Win for “Citizenfour”

We loved the win of documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras for several reasons. First, it was a rare opportunity for a female filmmaker to receive an award last night. In addition to that, Poitras made several strong statements about the importance of journalistic integrity, and the role we can all play in securing privacy and respect in our societies. She said, “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.”

3. Robin Roberts’ Red Carpet Interview with Reese Witherspoon


Before the show began, nominees, performers, presenters and more made their way down the famous red carpet. As we mentioned last week, many were hoping to see female celebrities asked about more than just their dresses. Some reporters attempted to stray from the beauty script, to varying degrees of success (Ryan Seacrest … you tried). But one interview had us cheering before any winners were even announced. ABC correspondent Robin Roberts engaged actress Reese Witherspoon in a truly interesting discussion about her career, her production company, and the #AskHerMore campaign. If the Academy gave awards for Best Pre-Show Interview, this would have won in a walk.

Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees!



In coming months, The Story Exchange will be exploring Hollywood’s gender gap, interviewing directors, producers, actors, writers and academics who are following the issue and advocating for change. Interested in being a part of our series? Drop us a line at [email protected].