Patty's platform! Fresh off her Best Supporting Actress win at the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 22, Patricia Arquette spoke to Us Weekly and other reporters backstage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood about her acceptance speech, elaborating about equality.
During the show, Arquette gave a rousing speech about women's rights, prompting enthusiastic responses from her fellow nominee Meryl Streep, who pointed and yelled in agreement. "I heard about [her reaction], and I hugged her afterwards," the Boyhood star, 46, told Us. "She's the queen of all actresses — patron saint of actresses. So, it's amazing, but it is time for us. It is time for women. Equal means equal."
"The truth is," she mused, "the older women get, the less money they make. The more children — the highest percentage of children living in poverty are female-headed households, and it's inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don't… have equal rights for women in America and we don't because when they wrote the Constitution, they didn't intend it for women."
She pleaded with her fellow citizens to think about equality issues in this day and age, and take action. "The truth is: even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women," Arquette reflected. "And it's time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now."
And believe Us that Arquette did her homework on the matter. "I think we need federal laws that are comprehensive; in different states, they have altogether thrown out the Fairness Voting Act," she noted. "People think we have equal rights; we won't until we pass a Constitutional Amendment in the United States of America where we pass the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment] once and for all and women have equal rights in America we won't have anything changed."
She then brought up, once again, the issue of E!'s Mani Cam to illustrate her point. "There are these things, the Mani Cam and so on and 'what are you wearing?'" she said of red carpet motions. "I'm wearing a dress my best friend designed. We have been best friends since we were 7 and 8 years old. I think she was the first person who ever said to me, 'What do you want to be when we grow up?' We were standing next to her Barbie Dream House. I made fun of her because she played with a Barbie and my mom wouldn't let us have Barbies." (E!'s red carpet fixture, which zooms in stars' colorful claws at awards shows, is no longer after numerous A-listers have opted against flaunting their nails in the video feature.)
Arquette told her she wanted to be an actor, while her best friend Rosetta Getty, whose custom design she wore to the event, said she wanted to be a fashion designer. "And she designed my gown, so it's like wearing love," Arquette explained. "And we started an organization, GiveLove.org. And instead of getting a manicure, which I was supposed to do this morning for that dreaded Mani Cam, instead, I ended up trying to pull pictures because we started a sweepstakes this morning for our charity to do ecological sanitation in the world. Now when I saw Harry Belafonte's picture up there, I remembered my mom. She was an Equal Rights activist, she worked for civil rights."
The Oscar winner continued: "And this is who I am. This is the whole who I am," she told Us backstage. "I love my business, I love acting, and I love being a human being on earth and I want to help. I never saw this moment in me winning an Academy Award. I never even thought I would be nominated and I was okay with that. But you know what I did see? I saw many things that have come true in my life, and one of them was helping thousands and thousands of people, and I have, and I will, and I will help millions of people. Thank you."
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