Perhaps it all started with J.K. Simmons.
At the 2015 Oscars, Simmons was the first to receive an award during the ceremony, and as he picked up the trophy for best supporting actor, he gave a speech that immediately went viral.
He didn’t say anything controversial, and he didn’t call Idina Menzel “Adele Dazeem.” He simply imparted a little bit of advice: “Call your mom.”
That piece of wisdom was apparently what everyone on the Internet needed to hear, as the sentiment grew so popular that Google offered to help set up a reminder.
After Simmons, it seemed nearly every Oscar winner had life lessons and passionate causes to share. Here are four more:
When Patricia Arquette won the best supporting actress Oscar for “Boyhood,” she used the opportunity to take a stand for equal pay. A report by the World Economic Forum has estimated that U.S. women earn about 66% of what their male counterparts earn.
The events in the movie “Selma” may have happened years ago, but the issues the film touches on are as current as ever.
John Legend made that point during his acceptance speech with Common for best original song, which was awarded to “Selma’s” “Glory.”
“Right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real,” he said. “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on.”
The adapted screenplay Oscar winner, “The Imitation Game’s” Graham Moore, also gave an affecting speech that will undoubtedly serve as inspiration for years to come.
Moore revealed that he tried to commit suicide when he was 16 because he “felt weird and … different and I felt like I did not belong,” he said. “So I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. Stay weird. Stay different. And then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”
When you win best picture at the Oscars, as Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “Birdman” did this year, you seize the opportunity to speak what’s on your mind.
For Iñárritu, that was the politics of immigration.
“I want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans,” the director said during his speech. “The ones who live in Mexico, I pray that we can find and build the government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and build this incredible immigrant nation.”