14 Months After Patricia Arquette Called for Equal Pay, Hollywood Is Nowhere Closer to It

Source: AP
Source: AP

Fourteen months ago, Patricia Arquette won the best supporting actress Oscar for Boyhood. Instead of using her moment onstage at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood to read a laundry list of thank yous or crack jokes, she called powerfully — if problematically — for equal pay.

Source: YouTube

The reaction in the room was wild. Meryl Streep practically jumped out of her seat. It seemed, in that moment, like a real call for change.

Source: Giphy

Fast forward over a year to Tuesday's Equal Pay Day, and unfortunately, that change has not yet come.

Read more: Patricia Arquette on Lack of Film Diversity: "People Are Smacking Into This Glass Ceiling"

In the past year, several celebrities have followed Arquette's suit and spoken out about Hollywood's gender pay gap. Jennifer Lawrence famously wrote an op-ed in October for Lena Dunham's newsletter, using her position as one of the best-paid film actresses to argue for others. Some, like Bradley Cooper and Salma Hayek, joined their voices with Lawrence and Arquette.

Others, however, hid from the fight. Jeremy Renner, Lawrence and Cooper's American Hustle co-star, shied away from responsibility. Kate Winslet called talking about pay "vulgar." Hollywood remains woefully undiverse, with significantly fewer roles for women — thus creating a more competitive space where negotiating for a higher ask is risking losing out on a job.

Even in the highest rungs of Hollywood, women are paid less than men. This is an epidemic in the industry, as it is nationwide.

What will it take for change? Will talks and magazine features and studies actually bring about a more equal film industry? Or, as Cate Blanchett worried in a GQ interview published in December, will Hollywood be in the same place another 14 months from now?

"We'll be back here like Groundhog Day next year having the same fucking symposium," Blanchett said at the time, fatigued over a year after her own call for equality in Hollywood on the Oscar stage. "It just has to shift."

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Kevin O'Keeffe

Kevin is the arts editor at Mic, writing about inclusion and representation in pop culture. He is based in New York and can be reached at kevin@mic.com.

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