Patricia Arquette has switched to CSI Cyber despite her Oscar-winning role in Boyhood. Photo: Getty Images
- Arquette opens up on Boyhood, Hollywood's most unlikely success story
- Oscars 2015: Meryl Streep's amazing reaction to Patricia Arquette's speech
Patricia Arquette's passionate call for wage equality earned praise from women around the world, had Meryl Streep rising out of her chair and even gained a shout out from US President Barack Obama.
But comments which the Boyhood actress made backstage about the need of "people of colour" to fight for women soured the positive reception she had received earlier in the evening, at a ceremony already under fire for its notable lack of racial diversity.
Meryl Streep shouts 'yes' to Patricia Arquette during her stirring acceptance speech.
Arquette finished her acceptance speech for her Best Actress in a Supporting Role award on Sunday night with a shout out for equal pay for women, earning rapturous applause in the room and online.
"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.
But during her backstage interview, Arquette called specifically on other minority groups to fight for women, in comments that have been viewed by many as insensitive or misplaced, and seemingly ignoring that women from racial minorities in the US are even more affected by the gender wage gap than white women.
Patricia Arquette accepts the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as a single mum in Boyhood at the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood. Photo: MIKE BLAKE/Reuters
"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," she said.
"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."
Writers such as Slate's Amanda Marcotte were troubled by that sentiment.
"Arquette's political grandstanding played into every ugly stereotype about 'feminism' being about little more than some privileged white women trying to become more privileged," she wrote.
People of color can't fight for your pay Arquette, because they are still fighting for themselves — Jefúl Cámestebé (@asburyha) February 23, 2015
People of colour have enjoyed freedom for so, so long and yet we continue to ignore the plight of downtrodden Patricia Arquettes. #ashamed — Aamer Rahman (@aamer_rahman) February 23, 2015
Other than disappearing women of color, trans women, and lesbians, Arquette was great. — Jeff Fecke (@jkfecke) February 23, 2015
Live footage of Patricia Arquette asking gays & people of color to help her get better pay. pic.twitter.com/oDcIyqbknM — BlackBroDude (@CraigSJ) February 23, 2015
The idea that queers & POC have had their time in the struggle spotlight long enough. Eek. Ma'am. Congrats on yr Oscar tho. You are talented — roxane gay (@rgay) February 23, 2015
Like their Australian counterparts, women in the US continue to earn less than men. However, the pay gap for women from African-American and Hispanic backgrounds is far more pronounced than for white women. On average, white women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by white men, compared to 64 cents for black women and 54 cents for Hispanic or Latina women.
Arquette appeared to defend her comments on Monday afternoon in the US, tweeting that she had long been a supporter of the LGBT community and than her stance in favour of equal pay was one that would benefit all women.
I have long been an advocate for the rights of the #LBGT community. The question is why aren't you an advocate for equality for ALL women? — Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) February 23, 2015
Guess which women are the most negatively effected in wage inequality? Women of color. #Equalpay for ALL women. Women stand together in this — Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) February 23, 2015
This year's Oscars have been sharply criticised for their lack of racial diversity, with no non-white people nominated in any of the acting categories and the highly critically acclaimed civil rights film Selma snubbed in all the major acting and directing categories.
In recognition of this lack of diversity, host Neil Patrick Harris began the night by quipping: "Tonight we honour Hollywood's best and whitest - sorry, brightest."
Actor Sean Penn also drew criticism for his immigration joke about the director of the Best Picture winner Birdman, Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Penn opened the envelope to announce Innaritu and exclaimed "Who gave this son of a bitch a green card?"
Innaritu reportedly did not take offense, telling reporters backstage that he and Penn were friends and he was amused by the comment.
"Sean and I have that kind of brutal relationship. I think it was very funny," he said, according to The Daily Beast.