Jessica Chastain Takes on Diversity in Hollywood at Critics' Choice Awards

by Jackie Willis; Video produced by Rebecca Zamer 1:20 PM PST, January 16, 2015
Playing Jessica Chastain Takes on Diversity in Hollywood at Critics' Choice Awards

Jessica Chastain stood up to Hollywood during her acceptance speech at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards, following news that the 2015 Oscar nominations did not include any people of color in the acting award categories.

Upon receiving the Critics' Choice Most Valuable Player award, the Interstellar actress said, "Today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. So it got me thinking about our need to build the strength of diversity in our industry."

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As the crowd applauded, Chastain continued, "And to stand together against homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and racist agendas. I'm an optimist. And I can't help but feel hopeful about the future of film, especially looking at all these beautiful people in this room. Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.' And I would like to encourage everyone in this room to please speak up."

Cameras cut to Oprah Winfrey and Selma director Ava DuVernay applauding Chastain.

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This isn't the first time the 37-year-old actress has spoken out in support of more diversity in Hollywood. This past December, she told Indiewire, "I'm speaking out as an audience member who is going to the cinema and noticing there's a problem here because I don't see women being represented. I don't see Asian-American actresses begin represented. I don't see women in their 60s being represented in film. ... There are these really fantastic actresses out there, but there are so few opportunities."

What did you think of Chastain's speech?

While at the Critics' Choice Awards, Selma star David Oyelowo took the high road when reacting to the recent Oscar nominations controversy. See ET's chat with the man playing Martin Luther King, Jr., below.