Jared Leto Wins Best Supporting Actor For ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ Shouts Out Activists In Ukraine

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"Jared Leto Wins Best Supporting Actor For ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ Shouts Out Activists In Ukraine"

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Jared Leto Wins Best Supporting Actor For 'Dallas Buyers Club,' Shouts Out Activists In Ukraine

Jared Leto, who some trans advocates feel has not brought the same grace to awards season stages that he brought to his performance as a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club, wins Best Supporting Actor, the first award given out on-screen tonight. It seems he’s gotten some advice along the way about how to speak about both trans people and politics, because Leto’s speech emphasized family, and was carefully correct when he touched on politics.

“There was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high school dropout and a single mom. But somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children,” Leto said, thanking his mother at length for her work bringing him up. “She encouraged her kids to be creative, to work hard, and to do something special. That girl is my mother and she’s here tonight. But I just want to say, I love you mom, thank you for teaching me to dream.”

He then turned to international politics, saying “To all the dreamers out there all around the world watching this tonight, in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say, we are here, and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight.” It’ll be interesting to see if other actors follow his lead as the U.S. struggles to shape its response to Russia’s incursions into Ukraine this weekend.

And Leto touched on LGBT issues last, dedicating his statuette to “the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS,” and saying “I stand here in front of the world with you and for you,” to anyone who’s suffered because of who they are or who they love. It’s too bad that Leto didn’t use his time on the Oscar stage to speak at greater length about trans issues, and with greater sensitivity than he has on previous occasions. But with any hope, his performance is far from the last to tell the stories of trans people, and his award opens up opportunities for trans actors and actresses. Next year, Laverne Cox.

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