Oscars 2015 Brings Suicide Awareness To The Stage

There were many powerful films on display and up for gold at the 2015 Oscars, but some acceptance speeches from the winners of the prestigious award had even more powerful words for both their peers and the millions that watched the gala from home.

The subject of suicide is not something we see all too often in films, and even fewer of these films where this is a central theme are prevalent at the Oscars. This year in the Best Documentary Short Award category, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 took home the Oscar gold. The film takes a look at the work of several Veteran’s Crisis Line employees who work the phones in a 24-hour hotline service. They provide both active and retired servicemen and women guidance, support, and hope during times of emotional, physical or financial troubles.

This is not the first time that Dana Perry has tackled the subject of suicide. In 2009, she spoke to Huffington Post about her film Boy Interrupted, a documentary where viewers learn about her son who committed suicide at 15.

“This is a movie one wishes one did not have to make. Maybe it will break down walls, and stigmas about talking openly about mental illness, to free people to do so without shame. The film asks a lot of questions in a public fashion and stirs up discussion about why we as a society are ashamed about mental illness. Educating people is a real challenge. And, education and treatment is the only suicide prevention. Let’s get the word out.”

During her Oscar acceptance speech last night, Perry mentioned that “we need to talk about suicide out loud.” When the music came on to signal that the pair should wrap up their speech, it was abruptly stopped to allow Perry to talk about her son, Evan, who tragically committed suicide when he was just 15.

It wouldn’t be the last time that suicide was mentioned throughout the Oscars last night. When writer Graham Moore accepted his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work with The Imitation Game, he gave a speech that left some celebrities teary eyed, insisting that it’s alright to be different.

“Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out on all these disconcertingly attractive faces. And I do. And that’s the most unfair thing I think I’ve ever heard. And so in this brief time here what I want to use it to do is say this. When I was 16 years old I tried to kill myself, because I felt weird, and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here. And so I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere: Yes you do. I promise you do. Stay weird, and then when it’s your turn, and you are the one standing on this stage, please pass this message on.”

There were many incredible speeches made by the winners of the 2015 Oscars, however these two in particular did what others hadn’t: raised awareness of an illness that grips both young and old. Having lost actor Robin Williams in 2014 to suicide, many former coworkers, friends and even the millions who didn’t know Williams personally, were touched by his tragic death. His image was held on screen for a couple seconds longer than others during the Oscars In Memoriam.

[Image via NY Daily News]

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