A video of Jane Fonda using sign language during her Oscar acceptance speech for her performance in the 1979s Return home reappears after the actress called for stronger representation in Hollywood at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night.
The 83 year old Grace and Frankie Star accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award in recognition of her “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”. In her speech, she urged Hollywood to “keep up with the emerging diversity” within the industry.
Someone on Twitter then shared the clip from Fonda’s 1979 Oscar acceptance speech to show she’s always been a champion of inclusivity before it became a bigger conversation: “Never forget when Jane Fonda gave her best actress acceptance speech for the Oscars of 1979 signed because the academy wouldn’t offer a gated offer for captions. “
Fonda’s video explaining that the over 14 million people in the world are “invisible disabled people” who “cannot share this evening” because they are inaccessible received over five million views.
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Although the video has been shared previously, many Fondas called the use of American sign language “revolutionary” during this time and compared it to their Sunday night speech calling upon artists to be “leaders”.
Your speech today was beautiful, powerful and touching. I like the way she talked about artists who play leadership roles as fortune tellers and storytellers who bring light, understanding and compassion to the world. Such a legend and an incredible person. 🤍💫
– Ayesha Moughel (@theAyesh) March 1, 2021
She was always ahead of her time. Love this woman
– Sarah Leah Whitson (@ sarahleah1) March 1, 2021
Others also included a video of Louise Fletcher that ASL used during their acceptance speech for best actress at the 1976 Oscars.
Louise Fletcher did it in 1976.
Not just for activism, but also for their parents. That was Visibility.https: //t.co/6oYyzP9vu2
– @ 𝔐𝔞𝔯í𝔫 🏳️🌈 (@_JavierMarin) March 1, 2021
Rachel Shenton similarly used British Sign Language during her 2018 Oscar acceptance speech for the short film The silent child.
Despite these few examples of accessibility on awards stages, people are pointing out that Hollywood has a long way to go. Fonda’s recognition at Sunday’s Golden Globes, in addition to the many people the Hollywood Foreign Press Association proclaimed for the absence of a single black member, seems like a start.
“Art has always not only been in tune with history, but has paved the way,” said Fonda on Sunday. “So let’s be leaders.”