The Internet is abuzz today with all sorts of criticisms and commentary about the Oscars, and I’m so glad everyone else had the energy to catalog each and every foible or triumph, because I certainly didn’t. But I do want to talk about “Boyhood” and its supporting actress Patricia Arquette for a minute or two, because I’ve got some seriously strong feelings of both the positive and negative variety.
If you didn’t see “Boyhood,” I’m gonna need you to stop reading this and go rent or buy it online, then watch it immediately, because it is a stunningly beautiful film. Shot over the course of 12 years, this film follows a young boy (Mason) through his adolescence. As he navigates the first day of school, his mother’s string of unsuccessful relationships, first loves and more, the people around him also grow and change. After a whirlwind of a journey, we leave Mason during his first week of college, confident he and his family are prepared for the challenges ahead.
Every single performance in this film is extraordinary, but one that deserves special recognition is that of Patricia Arquette–who played Mason’s mother. Arquette took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress last night, and despite her not being my top pick (cough–Laura Dern–cough) in my opinion it couldn’t be more well-deserved. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to about this film said they saw their own mother in Arquette’s performance, and I did too. There is something in her portrayal of what it is like to unconditionally love a child, while not always loving yourself, that hit me right in the feelings.
See this moment:
I’M NOT CRYING. YOU’RE CRYING.
Anyway, as I said before, the award was extremely well-deserved and I’m very pleased with the Academy for recognizing her performance. What I’m NOT pleased with is how robbed “Boyhood” was in every other category, because 12 years of cinematic effort deserves a lot more than just a passing mention–especially the actors who made what, for many of us, is an unthinkably long term commitment. I can’t even commit to having breakfast tomorrow, much less 12 years of production work.
“Boyhood’s” portrayal of what it means to grow up, and have your children grow up, was masterful and poignant in a way many films of late have failed to be. Needless to say, I was sad to see it left in the lurch.
The biggest highlight from Arquette’s win was her acceptance speech that focused on closing the wage gap for women. It’s got a lot of people talking. In case you missed it:
This was, more or less, a massive “YES” moment for me, even if comments Arquette made later backstage were a little problematic.
Also feminist icons Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez approved, which sealed the deal for me.
Let’s keep the ball rolling and continue championing women, especially moms, at award shows, shall we? Maybe we can attempt to recover from a long, rich history of misogyny one acceptance speech at a time.