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The 22 Most Noteworthy Things Said Backstage At The Oscars

02/23/2015 08:54 am ET
Jason Merritt via Getty Images

This year's Oscars ceremony was an up and down affair, but the acceptance speeches were top drawer. From Patricia Arquette's plea for equal wages to John Legend's critique of the American judicial system, this year's Academy Award winners had more on their minds than just Hollywood. That extended to the backstage area as well, where Arquette, Legend, "Imitation Game" writer Graham Moore and "Citizenfour" director Laura Poitras all expounded on their Oscar moments. Below are the 22 most noteworthy things said backstage at the 87th annual Academy Awards.

Patricia Arquette, Best Supporting Actress for "Boyhood"
patricia arquette

1. "It's time for us. It's time for women. Equal means equal. It's inexcusable that we go around the world and talk about equal rights for women in other countries when we don’t have equal rights for women in America. When they wrote the constitution, they didn’t intend it for women. It's time for all women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now."

John Legend, Best Original Song for "Glory" from "Selma"
john legend
2. On his wife, Chrissy Teigen: "She inspires me. My biggest song is ‘All Of Me’ and it’s about us and what it means to be in love unconditionally. She’s so happy right now. She’s been crying since I won. She’s trying not to do it on camera. We are going to celebrate tonight."

3. "I wanted the song to sound triumphant but also show that there is more work to do. We are going to do that work. We want to do that work. And we hope that our song is an inspiration for how to live with a spirit of love and not a spirit of fear. Hopefully we can take those lessons and recognize each others humanity and try to strive toward a love that is public."

Common, Best Original Song for "Glory" from "Selma"
common selma
4. "Nina Simone talked about using a platform. The fact that we have the opportunity to get to a stage like the Oscars -- how could you not say anything? Especially when representing a film like 'Selma.' Those are the things we can do as people in positions of power and influence. I feel it’s our duty. I don’t hold any other artist accountable -- but I feel it’s our duty."

Laura Poitras and Mathilde Bonnefoy, Best Documentary for “CITIZENFOUR”
laura poitras
5. Mathilde Bonnefoym, on people calling Edward Snowden a traitor: “One of the things people can do is focus on the person Snowden. We tried to give him a real voice. I think when you see it, you see that his motives were pure and authentic. He is a young man who decided to end his life as he knew it. It was an extraordinary act of courage."

6. Laura Poitras: “All we need to do is look at the civil rights movement and see what the government did to Martin Luther King Jr. There is no oversight. We should be very concerned about democracy.”

Graham Moore, Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Imitation Game"
graham moore
7. On how difficult it was to make his emotional acceptance speech: “The camera is just a little black circle. It’s not like I see a billion people. It was hard. I’m a writer -- when am I ever going to be on television? This was my 45 seconds in my life to get on TV and I might as well use it to say something meaningful.”

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, triple-win for “Birdman”: Best Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director
alejandro inarritu
8. On his nationality: "I cannot have these stupid borders, flags and passports. They were invented by human society. Naked, we are entirely the same. I have never felt that different. To make films in the U.S. or Africa or Mexico, I'm talking about human beings and emotions. That's the beauty of art. It doesn't have the borders that fuck the world so much."

9. "I don't have a career. I have a life. Today I'm living it fully. I don't know what will happen later, but today is great."

10. "I haven't figured out why I did what I did in this film. Why I took those chances. I think it's when you lose fear. Fear is the condom of life. It doesn't allow you to enjoy things. I made this without one and it was making love for sure."

11. "Kids are so obsessed with competition. In order to feel good about themselves, they have to defeat someone else. I hate that. Once I finish a film, I feel successful."

12. "I would like to ask you to do me a favor: say that I did this for my mom. She was watching it on TV and I didn't mention her. My mom is a big part of this journey. She's very old and I would like her to know."

Julianne Moore, Best Actress for “Still Alice"
julianne moore
13. "My husband has been amazing. He's also the person who walked me up the steps to get my Oscar. I don't know if people could see that. This is the first time I've told anybody this -- but he was the first person to see the movie. He came with me and I heard him crying. When we walked out of there, he said, 'You're going to win an Oscar.' That's how much he supported me from the very beginning."

14. "I go to the movies because I like to see complicated, interesting stories about people and relationships. So when there's success with a film like this, then people think about them more. But at the end of the day, Hollywood is a business. I think it depends on how many people buy tickets."

Eddie Redmayne, Best Actor for “The Theory of Everything"
eddie redmayne
15. On his speech: "I was just trying to bury all this frenzy of nerves and white noise and trying to speak articulately. It just felt like an extraordinary euphoria, really."

16. On the future: "Retaining employment will keep me very happy."

17. "I was not that nervous because three years ago, I came to the Oscars for the first time with 'Les Misérables' and had to sing. Just before going on, someone said, 'Yeah that’s a billion people watching.' That's too much stress for your vocal chords to possibly consider! Today felt much more relaxing. You either win or you lose. Either way, I was just so excited to be invited to the party."

18. "What’s been great is staying in a hotel just down the road with friends of mine -- Emma Stone, Sienna Miller and my wife" [he then cradled his Oscar like a baby].

J.K. Simmons, Best Supporting Actor for "Whiplash”
jk simmons
19. "I read a very romantic book when I was in college -- Rilke's 'Letters To A Young Poet.' I've always felt that if you are in any artistic endeavor and you feel that there’s something else you could do for a living and be happy, I think you should do something else, because you're much more likely to find comfort and happiness. But if you can look deeply within yourself and honestly answer that nothing else will bring you satisfaction, then there's your answer."

20. On slower times in his career: "The lean times were a wonderful and beautiful time of my life. I was struggling for many years doing regional theater for not much money and doing odd jobs in between. But I didn't have a wife and kids to support. I didn't have responsibilities aside from feeding myself and being a decent human being. I look back on those times with great fondness."

21. When asked if he will now get on Twitter, Simmons simply said: "No."

Emmanuel Lubezki, Best Cinematography for "Birdman"
emmanuel lubezki
22. "The first time Alejandro Iñárritu talked to me about [‘Birdman’], he said he wanted to do a movie in one shot. This was before I had read the script. And in that moment, I truly, honestly thought: ‘I hope he doesn’t offer me this movie. I’m not interested. It sounds like a nightmare.'"

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Oscars Red Carpet 2015
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