I’m not disturbed by the speech itself as much as the fact that McConaughey’s place in our culture affords him the privilege of having a slightly off-kilter personality, almost without criticism. People have (rightly) gushed over Lupita Nyong’o’s touching Oscars speech, pointing out her poise, elegance, and genuinely touching words. But would the same praise have been lavished upon her if she thanked herself in her acceptance speech, and topped it off with a mumbling “all right, all right”? Last year, Anne Hathaway was consistently derided for her “smugness” and overly long acceptance speeches, while no ill comments have been thrown at McConaughey’s shit-eating grin. Kanye West is intense, but his intensity is unfailingly characterized as “ranting,” rather than a lovable personality quirk. Covert sexism and racism are nothing new (obviously), but McConaughey’s effortless swagger only emphasizes that his is the kind of behavior that we only — and even praise — when it comes in the form of a straight, traditionally masculine white male actor.
It does not escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.
Even when an actress is the lead in her film, as Judi Dench is in Philomena or Sandra Bullock in Gravity, they appear on screen for a lot less than their male counterparts.
The difference between the 85 minutes actors got and 57 minutes that actresses did means that lead male nominees received 150% of the screentime that their female counterparts did. And the difference between male acting nominees’ overall 59 minutes to female nominees’ overall 42 minutes means that male actors were on screen for 140% of the time that women were.