“I know something of a woman in a man’s profession.”
“Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid — that pisses me off.”
“The least I require is respect.”
It wasn’t a segment on Time’s Up. Instead, those lines came from a montage of classic female performances that formed a pointed introduction to the presentation of the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
The evening’s efforts to deal with the issue of sexual misconduct in Hollywood had been somewhat uneven, with a strong monologue from Jimmy Kimmel and some awkward red-carpet coverage, as ABC hosts tried to segue between standard fashion commentary and references to Time’s Up.
In this context, the supporting-actress montage felt welcome — a reference to the outrage and righteous anger felt by many women inside and outside Hollywood right now, delivered with a light touch. As an official response to Time’s Up, the montage might have felt self-congratulatory — strong female characters on film, however important, don’t actually protect workers from harassment. But as a lead-in to the category, it was a graceful, winking touch, a reminder that women in Hollywood have never been secondary in importance, even when they take on supporting roles.
Allison Janney, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in I, Tonya, offered an amusing capstone to the moment. The opening line of her acceptance speech: “I did it all by myself.”