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At the Oscars, Patricia Arquette has a message: 'Equal means equal'

Patricia Arquette at #Oscars: 'Equal means equal. Actresses, the older they get, the less they get paid.'

Patricia Arquette did not make "the dreaded mani-cam" a priority on Oscar Sunday, she said. Not a surprise, given the impassioned acceptance speech demanding equal rights for women.

She had other things on her mind.

Arquette didn't see Meryl Streep's enthusiastic "You go girl!" reaction, but said she heard about it. "I hugged her afterward and she's the queen of all actresses, the patron saint of all actresses.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015

"Equal means equal," she told reporters backstage. "Actresses, the older they get, the less they get paid."

She wasn't limiting the scope of equality to her peers, however -- far from it. She opined that one reason women in America don't have equal rights is because the Founding Fathers never intended that status for women.

OSCARS 2015: Complete list | Ballot | Cheat Sheet | Top nominees | Presenters | Timeline

"I think we need federal laws that are comprehensive," she said in response to a question about Amy Pascal's comment that women need to be better negotiators to get equal pay. Arquette's dream: "A constitutional amendment where we pass the ERA once and for all and women have equal rights."

She continued: "The truth is, even though we sort of feel we have equal rights in America, right under the surface we have huge issues."

Even in this context, Arquette was the one who started talking about her gown.

PHOTOS: Oscars 2015 top nominees | Presenters | Nominee reactions | Awkward moments

"I'm wearing a dress my friend made," she said, referring to her childhood friend Rosetta Getty. Arquette said Getty was the first one to ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. As they played dress-up by a Barbie Dream House, Arquette declared that she wanted to be an actress, and her friend said she wanted to be in fashion.

"And she became a great fashion designer. It's like wearing love."

Twitter: @thecdz

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