With the Oscar season newly ended, and people already looking at what will happen next year, let’s take time to recognize the badass women in the arts who were honored with the golden statue by reminding everyone of their other award-worthy achievements and stances that have been impressive far before their names were called on the stage.
Emma Stone, the husky-voiced actress who stole our attention in films like Superbad, The Amazing Spider Man and Easy A has recently starred in roles acclaimed for her performance, most notably Birdman, earning her a nomination a few years back, and La La Land, which finally won her the Best Actress Oscar this past week.
Stone isn’t just known for her acting. She and previous partner, Andrew Garfield, were known for making use of their paparazzi pictures by holding up cardboard signs whenever they were photographed, bringing attention to various causes and deserving charities.
Two of the many organizations they highlighted were the Worldwide Orphans Organization, which allows children in orphanages the extra resources necessary for them to thrive in deprived environments. Another organization was Girl Effect, a creative social business that exists to “create a new normal with and for girls” through their inclusion and empowerment. Emma is more than an Oscar winner, she’s someone who recognizes her public stance and uses it to advance positive organizations.
Filmmaker Joanna Natasegara took home the Oscar for Best Documentary Film with her filmmaking partner Orlando von Einsiedel. Natasegara is a British film director and producer. The title she won being an indication of its success, Natasegara used her documentary “The White Helmets” to shed light on the heroic endeavors of a Syrian rescue group of this name that works to literally dig survivors out of rubble caused by bomb blasts with their bare hands. The White Helmets are the sole reason for many Syrians’ survival during this brutal time in their country, and Natasegara used her filmmaking abilities to highlight this. She was thrilled with her win, and said backstage that she just “wanted the world to know about the white helmets.” Natasegara has a passion for social justice and human rights, and uses film to speak for those who don’t have a voice to speak for themselves. Her empowerment of a group of people whose work deserves more than just an Oscar speaks to her humanitarian endeavors in illuminating those who feel left in the dark. At the end of her acceptance speech, she finished with a simple, “most of all – thank you to the White Helmets.”
In 2015, Davis became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series for HTGAWM, and she used the moment to speak out against the lack of roles given to African American women in Hollywood. “We can’t play roles that aren’t there,” she said. Since then, she’s become a proud advocate for diversity on screen, stating that having representation of your own race and of how you truly look are essential to women’s empowerment. Davis believes that the recognition of a woman’s identity should be widespread.
A wonderful awards season full of glowing Rotten Tomatoes reviews, diversity, and Jimmy-Kimmel induced laughter is now behind us, but the women who took home big wins on Oscar night shine even without their Academy Awards. Their exemplary and notable activism for and achievements within women’s empowerment make them not only Oscar winners, but role models.
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