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Winning Advice from This Year’s Top Oscar Speeches

The Academy Awards have come and gone, but the star-studded advice will live on indefinitely. Perhaps this year more than ever, celebrities used their acceptance speeches as a way to make a statement…and we’re not just talking fashion.

Ferocious female, Patricia Arquette, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood, not only accepted her trophy but also argued for female wage equality…ya know, super casual. Aside from thanking her loved ones and coworkers, Arquette’s acceptance speech took a turn for the unexpected when she shouted, ever so confidently, “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”  As female collegiettes on the hunt for a well-paying job or internship, Arquette’s hope for an equal society hits home. We all work hard–regardless of gender–and deserve equal pay for our dedication to the job. It’s as simple as that. [Watch Arquette’s speech here.]

Graham Moore, who won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, inspired people young and old to “stay weird, stay different” to raise awareness for suicide prevention. Moore offered a personal anecdote about his struggle fitting in and battling depression. “When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself,” he said. But then, he directed his message to “that kid out there who feels s/he doesn’t fit in anywhere…Yes, you do, I promise you do.” Especially in college, it’s so easily to feel like we don’t belong. At Bucknell, people often think there’s a specific “mold” we all need to fit into in order to gain acceptance. But, truthfully, we should think the opposite: we should praise individuality, not judge it. There’s no time like the present to be yourself, and if other people don’t like the true version of you, then they’re not worth your time. Like Moore says, it’s okay to “stay weird.” Don’t change yourself for anyone, especially you. [Watch Moore’s speech here.]

Eddie Redmayne’s emotional acceptance speech for Best Actor in The Theory of Everything encouraged us to think about those with disabilities, and to be thankful for the people in our life who support us every day. In his speech, he breathlessly proclaims, “This [Oscar] is for those people around the world battling ALS,” a progressive neurodegenerative disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. Whenever we’re upset about something, it’s important to realize that other people are constantly dealing with greater or lesser problems than we are. Sure, it’s tough to put things into perspective all the time, but Redmayne’s speech reminds us to think about the bigger picture, and to constantly show our appreciation for the people in our lives who love and support us. His heartfelt thank you and emphatic display of affection for his family and wife remind us that we should show the same love for our closest friends and family who mean the world to each of us. Even though we’re busy at college, the people back home got us to where we are today…a simple “thank you” or “I love you” can certainly go a long way, and Redmayne reminds us of that. [Watch Redmayne’s speech here.]

…There are certainly more stellar speeches where that came from, but these top picks will hopefully inspire you longer than a 3-hr. television special. Anyone who’s humble enough to argue for a better world while winning an award is a good person in my book. Although all the glitz and glam of the Academy Awards has worn off, their words will hold true for generations to come.

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