Jennifer Lawrence, Patricia Arquette Take Stand for Equal Pay at Women in Film Party

9th Annual Women In Film Pre-Oscar
Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Discussions on pay inequality and gender diversity commanded the Women in Film Pre-Oscar Cocktail Party Friday night, where actresses including Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander and Patricia Arquette convened to honor 2016’s 51 female Oscar nominees.

Before the cocktail party commenced, Women in Film president Cathy Schulman led a toast to recognize all the 2016 Oscar nominees — who were adorned with corsages — in attendance at the gathering, and in doing so, invited “Straight Outta Compton” screenwriter Andrea Berloff, Arquette and Lawrence to share the stage. Arquette, who famously used her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech as a platform to discuss the gender wage gap, spoke about pay inequality’s effect beyond the entertainment industry and the gap’s impact on the country’s poverty levels.

“Pay inequality affects women so drastically in America,” Arquette explained. “Yes, in our business, but really in 98% of all businesses. What we end up with is this: 33 million women and kids who are living in poverty, who would not be, if they were paid their full dollar.”

Lawrence graced the stage briefly after some prodding, noting that “this is the second night in a row this has happened to me.” (The night before, she was also put on the spot for remarks at Arquette’s Dinner for Equality.) Lawrence emphasized the importance of mentorship and reiterated Arquette’s equal pay sentiments with a triumphant, “Equal pay for women!”

On promoting the female perspective, “Transparent’s” Amy Landecker told Variety, “You’ve got to make your own content and you’ve got to write. That’s where things change. Of course someone has to buy it, which I think is what the conversation is shifting to now. Not only do the stories need to be told, but the people with the purse strings have to buy them,” said the actress, who’s in the process of writing an Amazon series called “Daddy’s Girl.”

Oscar-winning producer Schulman, who also heads production at STX Entertainment, highlighted the importance of including women in all decision making processes at STX.

“Every year, more and more, we become conscious of the need to stop for a minute, confront our own unconscious bias and make sure we’re including women in every decision we make — the decisions about content, the hiring decisions, the decisions about staffing,” said Schulman, who also hosted the cocktail party.

Of Women in Film’s advocacy for equal pay, she said, “We try to take a moment and look inside to say, ‘What is happening? Have we made progress this year? Do we feel good about the work we’re doing? Do we feel that it’s becoming easier for us to express our thoughts? Are we having more collaboration from those around us?'” She continued, “For all of us, it’s about using the collective influence that we have to speak out. Without doing that, what kind of a platform can we clear for the women that follow us? We have to clear the trees from the road so this doesn’t happen to them too.”

Echoing Schulman’s views on pay equality progression, “The Big Short” actress Adepero Oduye said, “You have to know your worth and exercise your voice. If you know your worth, there are things that you’re not going to accept. There are things that you’re going to speak up on. Your voice matters, and we’re all empowered.”

Added Landecker, “It’s all about being transparent.  When you actually see the numbers and see the statistics, that’s when outrage sets in and people want to make a change. We all have leverage, people like Jennifer Lawrence have the most leverage. When someone like that comes forward it trickles down all the way to us streaming actresses,” she said, referencing Lawrence’s 2015 essay on gender pay inequality in Hollywood.

Also in attendance at Women in Film’s pre-Oscar event were Jennifer Jason Leigh, Maria Bello, Charlotte Rampling, Emma Donoghue, Phyllis Nagy, Alicia Silverstone, Tom Hooper, Diane Warren, Mary Parent, Carrie Preston, Mya Taylor and Sophia Amoruso.

Max Mara, BMW, MAC Cosmetics, Perrier-Jouet and FIJI Water presented the Women in Film event, which was held at Hyde Sunset Kitchen + Cocktails in Los Angeles and treated attendees to a buffet, peach cocktails and Perrier-Jouet champagne.

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  1. John says:

    If you really want to help these people, stop backing the politicians that prevent the creation of higher paying jobs by passive oppressive legislation to drive up paperwork, bureaucracy, business costs, and taxes.

  2. jackdeth72 says:

    Women, whose efforts equal zero divided equally in the overall scheme of things.

  3. rhauction says:

    This isn’t the 20’s.This isn’t the 50’s….

    Any employer with any sense will hire and pay anyone ,male or female, what they are worth to them.

    What Planet are these people on???

  4. Shandy says:

    Never once did Jen or anybody “whine” or “complain” about “not making enough.” People see a name they recognize in the same phrase with “wage gap” or “unequal pay,” and simple minds jump to the obvious conclusion without reading anything more. Jennifer wrote an essay after discovering that she had made significantly less than her male costars of American Hustle–which was an ensemble film. OBVIOUSLY she’d get the most money from, say, The Hunger Games. The numbers for AH should’ve been more similar. Her point was not, “Waah, poor me, I didn’t get enough!” The point was that she hadn’t negotiated as well as the men, perhaps because she was too concerned about seeming nice and easy to work with. That was all. It was a principle that could apply to anyone in any industry or job. Now they’re talking about this “issue” AS A WHOLE. It’s not about the amounts but the proportions. Now, I don’t personally know how high this is on my list of things to really be concerned with…I know it’s perfectly illegal for two people of opposite sexes to be paid differently for the same work, so how a sex-based wage gap manages to exist in the first place is puzzling…? Unless the complaint is that women aren’t given equal consideration for higher-paying positions or something? Well, whatever it might be, it’s impossible to argue that equality shouldn’t exist, so…sure, they’re promoting a worthy thing here!

    Jen’s the highest-paid actor this year because her movies earned the most. *shrug* That isn’t her or anybody else’s fault; it’s just…how it works, even though the amounts sound completely insane to 99% of people. “How can a millionaire possibly ever complain?” Ah, but it’s not complaining if you actually listen. (And seriously, is that before or after taxes?!) I like her. She’s a fantastic actress, and based on all that I’ve seen of her out-of-character, she’s one delightfully funny, friendly, appreciative, generous, down-to-earth person. Patricia is very cool as well.
    So many absurdly unfounded, baseless, ridiculous remarks below–ew.

  5. jonnyrp says:

    It’s kind of funny since many women make more money than men, and it has to be those 2 that take the stand for pay equality? I wish other women in Hollywood are laughting at them at the moment since if you want equality, there are lots of things to look at. Supporting actors, men or women make way less money, and not only because they’re support acts should they deserve such a low paycheck.

    There is also the problem of discrimination between actors, those 2 hypocrites (Lawrence, Arquette) are quite happy to be standing above many women, if not the most of them and i don’t believe that they would like better actresses to be where they are. They may be the kind to take other women down and walk over their heads in this competitive world and yet, they allow themselves to look like models because they won an oscar that they think they deserve more than anyone? The truth is, the ones who judge them and should matter, the audience, sometimes don’t even watch the women nominated with them in their films but would say the winner deserve it only because they like him/her. Same for the ones who’ll say they don’t. If they don’t like you, they won’t bother watching your performance before judging it.

    There are still many good actresses that work better and harder than those 2, in the indie or mainstream. Before speaking out loud about inequality of salary when they’re paid more than well paid men, they should vilify sexism and racism against other women. Since many are forgotten, and they won’t be hired when the producers want an oscar only due to the fact that they mostly do support acting and/or their ethnic (origins), religious beliefs, their size (Heigh, weight) etc.

    Before pretending that this inequality favors the men in Hollywood, they should take a stand to make women equals to other women. But hell no, Lawrence and Arquette are not that impressive compared to many great actresses and yet, they’re enjoying the spotlight. And they should take a stand to stop men from being discriminated and paid peanuts compared to many women like them.

    Do they deserve their Oscar when they allow themselves to be the voice of everyone, yet everyone else with half a brain knows they’re only trying to boast their star power and status? When a woman does way more than a man on a film, she should deserve the biggest check of the 2, and i think that Lawrence and Arquette would agree with that. But sometimes, if not every time support actors make something like 30, 000$, 40, 000$ to 60, 000$ while the star makes 20 to 30 million dollars on the same film. If you want to talk about equality, this is something they should solve imo. At least shrink that difference between the star and support. Second, third and fourth roles deserve way better than that. Since once they get to work on the indie circuit, this is their faces that we’ll remember.

  6. AOi says:

    Haha Jlaw does realize she made more money than any oscar nominee…including men?? She made $52,000,000 dollars last year. Does she need an intervention and someone to say repeat that to yourself like Wendy from Billions?” Equal pay…

  7. sandra says:

    Alicia we really are enjoying your work so be careful. Arquette is a has been and people are tired of Lawrence

  8. Carlos T. Jackal says:

    Puh-leeze. Patricia Arquette only has a career because she had a hot sister.
    Casting Director: “I can get you Arquette.”
    Director: “Sweet! Rosanna?”
    Casting Director: “Uh… Patricia.”
    Director: “Oh…”

    She’s the Billy Baldwin of the family.

  9. taffy says:

    Patricia Arquette wins an Oscar after 20+ years working steadily in the business and somehow she’s a victim. Gotta be a victim these days. It’s so hip! Or else it’s just their way of not feeling guilty for being rich and having a life most Americans could only dream of.

    • Anne says:

      She never said she was a victim. Now that she has a platform, she is using to bring light to a subject. It’s just no one paid attention to what she had to say prior to her Oscar win

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