In the aftermath of most controversies there are winners and losers.
After the 2015 Oscar nominations included mostly white actors, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences became the focus of the Internet's wrath. Twitter trend #OscarsSoWhite was born as folks struggled to understand why not even Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma got much love at the Oscars.
The Oprah Winfrey-produced historical drama was a lock for getting nominated in multiple categories. However, its mastermind Ava DuVernay was inexplicably left out from the Best Director category just like its lead actor David Oyelowo was out of the Best Actor group.
This discrimination wasn't just against Selma. All of the 20 nominees in the four acting categories at the 87th Academy Awards are Caucasian, something, which, according to David Sims of The Atlantic, hasn't happened since 1995.
Now, taking advantage of the Academy's big time blunder is actress Jessica Chastain. At the Critics’ Choice Awards, the 37-year-old was honored with the MVP Award for the outstanding year that she had. Chastain was a part of four hit movies – Interstellar, A Most Violent Year, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and Miss Julie – in 2014.
Instead of doing the routine of thanking all and sundry, Chastain gave an incredibly moving speech on the need of diversity in Hollywood.
“Today is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, so it got me thinking about our need to build the strength of diversity in our industry,” Chastain said in front of an audience that seemed impressed by her choice of words, “and to stand together against homophobic, sexist, misogynist, ant-Semitic, and racist agendas.
“I’m an optimist, and I can’t help but feel hopeful about the future of film, especially looking at all these beautiful people in this room. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ And I would like to encourage everyone in this room to please speak up.”
Her comments immediately endeared Chastain to those watching, and soon tweets like these ensued:
Well said @jes_chastain. Congrats!! ??— Jessica Chastain Web (@ChastainNews) January 16, 2015
did u see jessica chastain speech too? she so intelligent and awesome, love her— MahagoEboNY (@ichaluvcat) January 16, 2015
@jes_chastain thanks for being a voice for the unheard voices ??— Robyn (@BangaRangRufio1) January 16, 2015
Well said, Ms. Chastain! You win in every way.