01/16/2015 08:20 am ET Updated Jan 16, 2015

Watch Jessica Chastain's Impassioned Speech For Diversity In Hollywood

John Shearer/Invision/AP

Hours after the Academy Awards put together its most uniform group of nominees in recent history, Jessica Chastain made an impassioned plea for more diversity in Hollywood. "Today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. It got me thinking about our need to build the strength of diversity in our industry," Chastain said while accepting a Critics' Choice Award for 2014 MVP on Thursday night. "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 the beautiful people in this room. Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.' I would like to encourage everyone in this room to please speak up."

Chastain has long advocated for change within the industry. "I'm so vocal about it because I'm an audience member, and I want to see more voices out there," she said in an interview with HuffPost Entertainment last year. "Everyone thinks this is ridiculous. Everyone is saying there is not enough diversity in the industry. Which makes this an exciting time right now. Because it's definitely a point of conversation. When everyone is talking about it, things have to change."

Watch Chastain's speech below:



Critics' Choice Awards 2015