This year's Oscars acceptance speeches did not disappoint. From J.K. Simmons' gratitude for his family to Julianne Moore's recognition of Alzheimer's disease—all were passionate, heartfelt, and incredibly powerful. Below are the five best speeches of the night and the lessons we learned from them.
1. J.K. Simmons Wins Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash and Reminds Us to Call Our Parents
J.K. Simmons’ Oscar speech was as funny as it was meaningful. He began by thanking his wife, Michelle Schumacher, and his children. “Joe and Olivia, you are extraordinary human beings—smart, funny, kind, loving people, and that’s because you’re a reflection of your mother.” Simmons ended his speech on a strong note by reminding us what is truly important in life. “If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them,” he said. “Don’t text, don’t email, call them on the phone, tell them you love them, and thank them... thank you, thank you, mom and dad."
2. Patricia Arquette Wins Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood and Takes a Stand for Gender Equality
“To every woman who gave birth, to every tax payer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said during her speech. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Her bold statement was received with cheers from the audience. Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez appeared to be especially moved by her words, enthusiastically cheering her on from their seats in the audience.
3. Common and John Legend Win Best Original Song for "Glory" and Inspire Us to March On
Common and John Legend's speeches were perhaps the most powerful of the night. The rapper began by referencing Selma bridge where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched years ago, and its symbolic meaning today. “The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the south side of Chicago dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy," he said. John Legend followed by explaining that although “Glory” was written about events that took place in the past, it's still relevant today. “Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now,” he said. “When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love, and march on.”
4. Graham Moore Wins Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game and Teaches Us to Stay Weird
In his truly heartfelt speech, Graham Moore spoke about his suicide attempt when he was 16 years old. “I felt weird and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong,” he confessed. He dedicated his time on stage to deliver a strong message to kids who feel the same way he did. “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.”
5. Julianne Moore Wins Best Actress for Still Alice and Shines a Light on Alzheimer's Disease
Julianne Moore can do no wrong. Her acceptance speech had it all—humor, humbleness, and sincere gratitude. She opened by jokingly referencing an article she read that claimed winning an Oscar added five years to your life. Moore went on to acknowledge the wonderful performances from her fellow nominees by saying “there’s no such thing as best actress.” Lastly, Moore shared her excitement for the film, which helped to put a spotlight on Alzheimer's disease. “The wonderful thing about movies is that it makes us feel seen and not alone, and people with Alzheimer's deserve to be seen so that we can find a cure,” she said.