Jessica Chastain, Critics' Choice Movie Awards

Lester Cohen/WireImage

Jessica Chastain opted to use some of her new MVP clout to push for a united Hollywood front against the injustices that continue to plague the world.

After graciously thanking the four directors she worked with on her 2014 movie slate as well as the individual members of her own team, the winner of the inaugural Most Valuable Player honor at the 20th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards was the first to mention on stage tonight that it was also what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.'s 86th birthday.

He was assassinated in 1968 when he was 39.

"Today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, so it got me thinking about our need to build the strength of diversity in our industry, and to stand together against homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and racist agendas," the 37-year-old actress, also a Best Supporting Actress nominee tonight for A Most Violent Year, continued. "I'm an optimist and I can't help but feel hopeful about the future of film, especially looking at all of the beautiful people in this room.

"Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.' and I would like to encourage everyone in this room to please speak up. Thank you."

Her words come in the wake of this morning's announcement of the 2015 Oscar nominations, which did not go unnoticed for their lack of diversity in the acting categoriesSelma, about the fight to get the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, did get nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Song for "Glory" (Common and John Legend's tune was also a winner tonight), but David Oyelowo was shut out of the Best Actor category and Ava DuVernay became the ninth female filmmaker to have her movie get nominated for Best Picture while she went without a Best Director nomination.

In response to the backlash, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs told Vulture that, no, the Academy did not have a problem recognizing diversity.

"The good news is that the wealth of talent is there, and it's being discussed, and it's helpful so much for talent—whether in front of the camera or behind the camera—to have this recognition, to have this period of time where there is a lot of publicity, a lot of chitter-chatter," Isaacs said. 

As for Selma, "it's a terrific motion picture," she added, "and that we can never and should not take away from it, the fact that it is a terrific motion picture. There are a lot of terrific motion pictures, it's a very competitive time, and there's a lot of great work that has been done. I am very happy that Selma is included in our eight terrific motion-picture [nominations]."

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