After the Oscar nominations were announced early Thursday morning, the conversation around the year's biggest Hollywood honors switched from congratulations for those in the running to criticism against the voting body who came up with the almost wholly white list of nominees. Throughout the day, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite trended on Twitter, even into another awards ceremony: the Critics' Choice Awards, which were held Thursday evening at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California.
Jessica Chastain — who appeared in highly lauded 2014 films Interstellar, A Most Violent Year, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, and Miss Julie — was given the Critics' Choice MVP Award at the event, an honor given to "an extraordinary actor for their work in several standout movies throughout a single year."
When Chastain got up to the podium to accept her speech, she thanked those involved in each element of making her four 2014 movies and then, she addressed the subject that dominated the day in Hollywood: diversity, or lack thereof.
"Today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, so it got me thinking about our need to build the strength of diversity in our industry," Chastain said, before the room interrupted in applause, "and to stand together against homophobic, sexist, misogynist, anti-Semitic, and racist agendas."
"I'm an optimist," she added with a laugh. "And I can't help but feel hopeful about the future of film, especially looking at all these beautiful people in this room. Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.' And I would like to encourage everyone in this room to please speak up."