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Patricia Arquette Steals Oscars With Rousing Speech Calling For Wage Equality In Hollywood, Nation

HOLLYWOOD ( — In an awards show that was often punctuated with political commentary, "Best Supporting Actress" winner Patricia Arquette got the crowd leaping to their feet when, at the tail-end of her acceptance speech, she called for equal rights and pay for women in Hollywood and across the nation.

» Oscars: Complete List Of Winners

The message elicited a visible response from everyone in the audience, most especially Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, who cheered and clapped in front of the cameras. Streep threw her hand up several times, as if to say "right on," to Arquette, who got fired up while reading the prepared speech: "...To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America."

The cameras cut to her "Boyhood" co-star Ethan Hawke and the film's director, Richard Linklater, who were smiling and clapping vigorously in support.

Arquette was making a point to an industry dominated by white males. The issue of equality in Hollywood has long been a struggle for female actors, many of whom have complained about the lack of roles and fair compensation. This year alone, all the main characters in films nominated for "Best Picture" were played by men.

It's a message that drew widespread praise from celebrities and viewers on Twitter.

Critics of the awards show also lambasted the voting process, which lacked ethnic diversity. Case in point: Many felt "Selma" director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr., were robbed of a nomination.

Viewers can check out Arquette when she stars in the upcoming CBS series "CSI: Cyber" premiering  March 4.

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