The 87th Annual Academy Awards took place on Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Here is what this Oscar winner said backstage in the Academy Awards press room.
Best Supporting Actress
What was the biggest challenge of “Boyhood” for you?
The weird thing is there was no challenge, in a weird way. I was just amazed that this filmmaker, Richard Linklater, wanted to make a movie about everyday people, people we don’t usually see in movies, and that he could get financing because it is a film business after all, and you can’t have a contract because Olivia de Havilland fought for us not to be in indentured servitude. So we have a seven year contract rule in America.
This little boy could have decided at seven years he wanted to walk away. And even though it was a small budget movie, $2.8 million, he could have walked away in the middle of our movie. To sort of find a financier to give us money, even though it was just $2.8 million, that’s a big investment to make with no safety net. And I was actually kind of blown away that the Producers Guild didn’t honor that because that really was such a brave move.
Congratulations on winning the award and congratulations on an absolutely incredible speech. Did you see Meryl Streep’s reaction?
I didn’t, but I heard about it, and I hugged her afterwards. And 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.
And the truth is, the older women get, the less money they make. 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.
One of those Superior Court justices said two years ago in a law speech at a university, “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.”
So 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. 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.
“Boyhood” was filmed over 12 years. How do you feel about representing so many years of lives? How could you build this character for so many years?
Well, Richard Linklater loves human beings. And by the time he decided to make this story, he wanted to make an autobiographical story, not just of his own childhood as a boy growing up through his perspective, but also by that point, he had become a parent. And even though he judged his mom and his dad growing up, at that point that he was an adult and a parent, he realized how hard it was for his mom, how hard it was for his dad, how much they’d grown as people. And he wanted to show that whole picture.
And my parents were already gone, and I felt like I always took my mom somewhat for granted. I always took my dad somewhat for granted. My dad had that same wild spirit Ethan’s character had. He was kind of bisected between being free and being in a family. I thought Ethan did such a beautiful job with that, and we all just thought about art in the same way.
What do you think, given the comments you made tonight, about someone like former Sony Pictures chairman Amy Pascal, who said, effectively, that women should be better negotiators, that it’s not up to her to pay women more when she has effectively underpaid women?
Again, I think we need federal laws that are comprehensive. In different states, they have altogether thrown out the Fairness Voting Act. 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 once and for all and women have equal rights in America we won’t have anything changed.
This morning, you know, there’s these things, the Mani-Cam and so on and “What are you wearing?” 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.
She said, “What do you want to be? And I said I want to be an actor.” “What do you want to be?” She said, “I want to be in fashion.” And she became a great fashion designer and she designed my gown, so it’s like wearing love.
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. And this is who I am. This is the whole who I am.
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 OK 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.
For more info: Academy Awards website
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