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Patricia Arquette Signals New Era of Hollywood Activism at Oscars (watch!)

Patricia Arquette accepts the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 87th Academy Awards and makes an impassioned plea for equal pay for women. Is Hollywood become more political?  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Patricia Arquette accepts the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 87th Academy Awards and caps her speech with a plea for equal pay for women. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Patricia Arquette used her Best Supporting Actress Oscar speech to make an impassioned plea for equal pay for women, marking a new era in Hollywood political activism not seen since before the Red Scare of the 1950s.

Arquette, 46, drew rousing applause from the audience and caused some celebrities to stand in appreciation.

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer of this nation,” she declared. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all in the United States of America.”

Arquette was advocating a position long supported by President Obama, but opposed by conservatives on Congress.

Full-time female workers earning about 33 percent less than their men in the same job, according to the administration. African-American and Latina women, 64 cents and 56 cents respectively for every dollar earned by a Caucasian man.

Actresses like Meryl Streep and Emma Watson have also become vocal on women’s rights issues, including reproductive rights.

Political speeches at the Oscars are far from new. But celebrities have become increasingly vocal on a whole range of political issues.

From Miley Cyrus’s “Free the Nipple Campaign” to George Clooney advocating on behalf of Darfur, celebrities have used their star power to publicize pet causes.

In some cases, those political beliefs are translating into films. The Oscar uproar over Clint Eastwood film “American Sniper,” is a case in point.

When “Birdman” was named Best Picture, an uproar ensued on social media over claims that “American Sniper” was “snubbed” for political reasons by “liberal Hollywood.”

“Selma,” about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic march, was also branded a “political film.”

In that regard, today’s Hollywood mirrors the 1930s, when the movie industry became highly politicized and social themes began turning up in movies.

But Hollywood is far from monolithic. Conservatives in Tinseltown have also become more vocal.

Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley lampooned the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, at the Country Music Awards.

Actor James Woods routinely blasts the President on everything from gun violence to race relations. In one diatribe, he called Obama a “true abomination.”

In many ways, Hollywood is just a reflection of the country’s growing political polarization. The red-state, blue-state mentality has increased the volume of political dialog on both sides.

Check out Arquette’s speech. Do politics have a place at the Oscars? Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest celebrity news.


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