Was this the most political Oscars ever? The tone of the night began on the red carpet with nominee Reese Witherspoon’s adoption of the #AskHerMore campaign – which rails against a focus on the female nominee’s dress.

Inside host Neil Patrick Harris’ jibe about an evening of celebrating the ‘best and whitest’ also hit a note – particularly in light of a notable lack of nominations for Martin Luther King film Selma and a shortage of nominations for any actor of colour.

But the standout speech of the evening – and one which led Meryl Streep to ‘whoop’ – was best supporting actress winner Patricia Arquette’s call for, “wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”.

Cynics might opine that without the interest from these speeches and comments the 2015 Oscars could have been a fairly stale affair and, while the whole shebang is really pure entertainment, it’s nice to see that a few actors can see beyond their ivory towers to the struggling lives of us mere mortals below.

With a report in 2012 showing 94% of Academy members were white and 77% male the Oscars is a fine stage to challenge sexism, racism and inequality in society and within the Academy itself – albeit in tuxes and million-dollar finery…

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