TIME Oscars

These Four Policy Issues Got Our Attention at the Oscars

Hollywood is never shy about sharing its thoughts on politics, especially on Oscar night. But after the acceptance speeches fade, what happens next? Here’s a look at the status of several issues raised at the Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night.

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood,” on Equal Pay

The issue: The Pew Research Center estimates that women earn 84 percent of what men earn, though the gender pay gap has narrowed since the 1980s. This is the rare issue that also affects Hollywood. The 10 highest-paid actors were paid $419 million in 2013 while their female counterparts earned $226 million, barely half as much.

What Arquette said: “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 outlook: Legislation introduced last year would have made it illegal for companies to retaliate against employees who share how much they make, a key step in ensuring men and women are paid equally. It failed to pass the Senate and is dead in the current Republican Congress. Some states, such as Vermont, are tackling the issue, however.

Common and John Legend, “Selma,” on Racial Justice in the U.S.

The issue: Racial disparities persist decades after the events depicted in Selma. In their acceptance speech, singers John Legend and Common highlighted two: the high rate of incarceration among black men and changes in voting rights laws, such as requirements that voters show government ID at polling stations.

What Legend said: “We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today then were under slavery in 1850.”

The outlook: Protests over how police have handled black male suspects have given the cause momentum. The Eric Garner case helped inspire New York City officials to begin to rethink their approach to policing. Activists on the left and right are coming together to push for reforms to the criminal justice system, though voting rights legislation isn’t going anywhere in Congress.

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, “Birdman,” on Immigration Reform

The issue: Immigration reform has been a hot button political issue for years. Millions of undocumented immigrants live in the U.S. and there’s widespread disagreement about how they should be addressed.

What Iñarritu said: “I want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico. I pray that we can build the government that we deserve. And the ones living in this country who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who come before and built this incredible nation.”

The outlook: Immigration reform is a thorny issue, and legislators in Washington repeatedly have had trouble finding common ground. President Obama took action on his own, taking executive actions providing temporary legal status to millions of immigrants. Still, those actions remain contested in court and Congress isn’t likely to do much on this issue.

Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” on Veteran Suicide

The issue: Twenty-two veterans commit suicide everyday — a rate that more than double the rate in the general population. While the Veterans Affairs Department provides mental health services, mental health experts say many the veteran culture makes many hesitant to take advantage of the resources.

What Kent said: “This immense and incredible honor goes to the veterans and their families who are brave enough to ask for help.” What Perry said: “I want to dedicate this to my son Evan Perry, we lost him to suicide, we should talk about suicide out loud.”

The outlook: President Obama recently signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which creates an outreach system for veterans suffering from mental health issues and provides financial incentives to encourage psychiatric doctors to treat veterans. The law is a good start, but activists working to stem suicide say the issue requires more attention.

TIME celebrities

How Hollywood’s Finest Partied After the Oscars Ended

The most popular responses were eat, drink and party

People‘s Jen Garcia asked the stars what they would be doing after all the golden statues were handed out at Sunday night’s Academy Awards. Watch the video to see celebrities’ after-party plans — a lot of eating and drinking, basically.

TIME celebrities

Don’t Tear Down Patricia Arquette for a Well-Intentioned Speech

It's important to find a way to critique her comments about the rights of others without dismissing her feminist message

When Patricia Arquette took the stage to accept her Academy Award last night for Best Supporting Actress in Boyhood, she made a brave political statement and demanded gender equality. “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said in her speech. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Her words were initially greeted with with loud cheers, especially from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, whose enthusiasm culminated in one of the most-shared memes of the evening.

But no good deed goes unpunished — especially on social media — and within hours of the ceremony, Arquette was being attacked by people who said she was prioritizing the rights of white women over those of LGBTQ people and people of color. These criticisms are legitimate and deserve to be heard. Still, Arquette’s heart was in the right place and it’s not right to completely dismiss one of feminism’s most visible advocates.

It wasn’t Arquette’s speech that came under fire so much as her comments in the pressroom later.

“It’s time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is the older women get, the less money they make. The highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households. It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t,” she said. “It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

Many people on Twitter, including feminists like Roxane Gay and Morgan Jerkins, wrote that Arquette’s plea was tone-deaf for suggesting that gay people and people of color have achieved equality while women have not. They’re absolutely right. Feminism has often come under fire for being a movement for white women’s rights, not all women’s rights. Comments like these make queer women and women of color hesitant about joining the mainstream movement, which can seem exclusionary and oblivious to intersectionality.

But out of last night’s winners, few used their time onstage to get political. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu begged for respect for Mexican immigrants; John Legend and Common spoke about why the messages of Selma still resonate today; and Arquette made a plea for women’s rights. The rest of the show was dull and occasionally verged on racism. On a night when the nominees were overwhelmingly white, Octavia Spencer was forced to stay in her seat and stare at a box, Sean Penn made an offensive green card joke about Iñárritu and Neil Patrick Harris managed to botch the names of both Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Oyelowo.

There was a lot to criticize at this year’s ceremonies, and the well-meaning Patricia Arquette should rank a lot lower on that list than, for example, Sean Penn.

MORE Watch Sean Penn’s Oscars ‘Green Card’ Joke That Sparked Controversy

Let’s state the obvious: the wage gap exists and needs to be closed. According to the White House, full-time working women earn just 77% of what their male counterparts earn. (That number is under dispute — the Pew Research center recently estimated it’s closer to 84%, but that’s still a significant gap.) Though some politicians might have you believe that women just work lower-paying jobs, studies show this gap persists within industries: female lawyers make 82% of what their male peers earn; physicians 77%; financial specialists 66%. And research shows the pay gap exists for women without children — women who don’t take time off to have babies and raise them.

The wage gap affects women of all races, and Arquette didn’t demand that we only close it for white women. Arquette’s message was that women ought not subordinate the fight for their own rights over fights for other people’s rights. As she wrote on Twitter today, we can fight for rights for different groups of people simultaneously; we just shouldn’t forget women along the way. Sure, her speech wasn’t perfect, but she had the right intentions.

While Gay and others had more nuanced takes on Arquette’s comments — supporting her message while critiquing her phrasing — folks on Twitter are dismissing her entirely, and that’s dangerous. Even while we recognize the problems with her speech, feminists should be careful not to tear down their best and most visible advocates.

MORE These Are the Worst Paying Jobs for Women

Last year, Lena Dunham — perhaps the most famous feminist in Hollywood — endured a similar backlash. In a strange turn of events, feminists joined conservatives in attacking the Girls creator over a section of her book in which she describes her seven-year-old self looking at her little sister’s vagina. They called her a sex offender and attacked the feminists who tried to defend Dunham’s actions as normal childhood behavior. A group of feminists even wrote an open letter to Planned Parenthood asking them to drop Dunham as a rep.

Love her or hate her, there’s no greater public advocate for feminism in pop culture than Lena Dunham. Dunham personally convinced Taylor Swift (and therefore millions of tweens) that calling yourself a feminist is okay; she wrote about her own sexual assault so that other victims would feel comfortable talking about their experiences and reporting them to the authorities; she created a show with explicitly feminist themes. Joining conservatives in attacking people like Dunham and Arquette only serves to hobble the movement.

Different women can choose to express their feminism in different ways. But when women begin to tear down their best, most popular advocates, we hurt our own cause. As Sally Kohn wrote at The New Republic after the Dunham incident: “The minute feminism becomes hypercritical and humorless, it becomes too easy for the mainstream to dismiss our more valid complaints.”

Let’s take to social media to protest the fact that Selma director Ava DuVernay was overlooked for an Oscar nomination and that red carpet interviewers insist on asking women about the dresses they are wearing instead of their work — and let’s not vilify the people actively trying to create change, even when they do it imperfectly.

This post was updated to include Monday’s tweets from Patricia Arquette.

Read next: Lady Gaga’s Performance at the Oscars Could Redefine Her Career

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME celebrities

Watch John Travolta Finally Get Idina Menzel’s Name Right at the Oscars

Travolta redeemed himself after "Adele Dazeem" — sort of

After taking a seriously creepy picture with Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet, John Travolta went on to make things even more awkward at the Academy Awards.

To his credit, John Travolta co-presented the award for Best Original Song with Idina Menzel, whose name he memorably botched at last year’s Oscars, and actually managed to get her name right this time. But he held his face in her hands while saying that name, and it was, frankly, a little uncomfortable.

Still, props to the guy for having a sense of humor about it. Watch up top.

TIME celebrities

Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez Took an Amazing Selfie at the Oscars

The pair bonded over Patricia Arquette's call-to-arms over wage equality

MERYL STREEP #oscars #oscarlegend #needsomeofthatoscarjuju lol

A photo posted by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on

A budding friendship emerged from this year’s Academy Awards. Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez were (for some reason) seated next to one another during Patricia Arquette’s Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech and bonded over their mutual enthusiasm for Arquette’s feminist bid for equal pay.

Their cheering has already created an Internet-breaking meme — but then the two stopped to take a selfie. As Lopez herself wrote on her Instagram: “MERYL STREEP #oscars #oscarlegend #needsomeofthatoscarjuju lol”

Let’s be honest, Streep was probably asking Lopez for some acting tips after seeing The Boy Next Door.

TIME celebrities

Rihanna Celebrates Her Birthday by Getting Flirty With Leonardo DiCaprio

Mike Pont—FilmMagic

Rihanna rang in her 27th birthday on Friday with a slew of A-list pals – including rumored new love interest Leonardo DiCaprio.

The singer celebrated her big day at businessman Jim Goldstein’s famed home in LA. The guest list included DiCaprio, Mick Jagger, Jim Carrey, Bill Murray, Naomi Campbell and Paris Hilton.

Rumors have been circulating that the “Stay” singer and the Wolf of Wall Street star have been casually dating. A source tells PEOPLE that although Rihanna and DiCaprio, 40, didn’t act like a couple, they did share a few flirtatious moments.

“They weren’t couple-y but they would flirt and dance so definitely a little magic there,” says the onlooker. “They were definitely flirty and dancing, but not over the top.”

In true RiRi fashion, the festivities lasted until the early morning (5 a.m. to be exact).

Rihanna also shared an emotional birthday message on Instagram.

“27 years ago, my mother gave birth to her very first child at the tender age of 27,” she wrote “Life is never a piece of birthday cake, but I feel special that I was chosen by my Father in Heaven to make it here! And each year that goes by I am more grateful! Every day we wake up, means we get another chance at life … to live what we’ve learned and to discover even more, to be good to other people and to know that you are a part of their smile! I cherish these days, and I pray that God will spare my life to see many more! #Feb20″

The Barbadian singer has been busy in recent weeks, promoting and performing her newest single, “FourFiveSeconds.”

The acoustic song is a departure from her usual brand of sexy pop, and features appearances by Paul McCartney and Kanye West. The trio performed the song live for the first time at the 2015 Grammy Awards earlier this month.

This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com

TIME celebrities

Cumberbump Alert: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Baby Is Coming Soon

87th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Jason Merritt—Getty Images Benedict Cumberbatch, right, and Sophie Hunter attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 22, 2015 in Hollywood, Calif.

The actor appeared on the red carpet with his pregnant wife

Cumberbitches may still be bummed that their darling Benedict Cumberbatch is off the market, but at least this cloud has a silver lining: soon enough, a tiny Cumberbatch will be coming into the world.

The Imitation Game star appeared on the red carpet in advance of the Oscars Sunday with his new bride, Sophie Hunter, who was visibly pregnant in her gown. Whether or not he lucks out in his bid for Best Actor, these red carpet photos should definitely go in the baby book.

Hunter is, of course, more than just a baby mama for the British heartthrob; she’s had her own notable career as an actress and director.

TIME celebrities

This Is What Dakota Johnson Took Home From the Fifty Shades of Grey Set

From the red room to the red carpet

Fifty Shades of Grey‘s leading lady Dakota Johnson isn’t nominated for an Oscar, but she’s already generating buzz on the red carpet. The actress, who’s a presenter at the 87th Academy Awards, arrived with her date for the night: mother Melanie Griffith, who’s already said she won’t be seeing her 25-year-old daughter’s steamy role on the big screen — as it would probably make both mother and daughter uncomfortable.

So it was good Griffith wasn’t within earshot of Johnson’s interview with Ryan Seacrest when the E! host asked her what she took home from the set of the film. “A flogger,” she said, then quickly followed it up with. “Can I say that on television?” Too late.

TIME celebrities

Emma Watson Shoots Down Those Prince Harry Rumors

'Remember that little talk we had about not believing everything written in the media?!'

It looks like Emma Watson is squashing rumors that she has been secretly dating Prince Harry.

“Remember that little talk we had about not believing everything written in the media?!” Watson wrote on Twitter Sunday morning.

Watson was apparently referring to rumors about her and Harry, which were first reported by Australian magazine Woman’s Day. The magazine provided a number of details about how Prince Harry approached the 24-year-old Harry Potter actress.

Representatives for the royal family haven’t addressed the rumors, according to PEOPLE magazine.

Read next: Read What Amy Poehler Had to Say About the First Episode of Parks and Rec

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser