Patricia Arquette’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar win for Boyhood set the internet on fire in the best possible way. The actress decided to use this global platform as a space to take the movie industry to task for underpaying women. Her speech was emotive, powerful and had Meryl Streep practically jumping out of her seat (and fist pumping the air) in agreement – validation doesn’t get much better than that. But her rousing words calling for wage equality for every woman came at a disheartening price: less acting work in Hollywood.
According to The New York Times, Arquette was speaking at a Tribeca Film Festival event for female filmmakers, when she said that as a result of her speech she has been offered less work and even turned down for acting roles, despite winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress just over a year ago. She’s been deemed by peers an unofficial spokesperson for wage equality across America, but also revealed that certain heavyweight producers and executives had made no mystery of the reason for the rejection, adding: “some were dumb enough to say something that made it clear.”
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 time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America
However, like the formidable woman she is, the actress doesn’t regret a single word of her impassioned plea, quite the opposite; she’s prepared to continue the fight, head on. “But I’m O.K. with that,” she said of her loss of work. “Sometimes when you’re in a position to make a difference – to be a part of that story is a great thing. At my age, it’s a time in my life where I want to do things that make the world a better place for everyone to live in.”
Arquette said she always knew wage disparity was a problem, and she had reached a point where she wanted to fight it, particularly after the Sony hack. She said she felt galvanized. “I had just seen a lot of people struggle to make a living, and I just didn’t think it was fair,” she explained.
“I always knew I was paid less than men,” she said. “They would be very clear about that, sometimes, when they would make offers to you: ‘Well, they’re paying the guy, so they don’t have any money’ – they would say things like that.”
Of how she would deal with the prospect of never working in Hollywood again, Arquette said she’s more than prepared to downsize and change her lifestyle.
“I thought, I could sell my house, I can downsize, I can live a different kind of way. That’s OK. It’s OK. if I don’t work anymore,” she said. “I would be sad because I want to make art, but if that’s what it takes, I guess that’s what it takes.”
Did we mention we love this woman?