Ethan Hawke (L) kisses the winner for Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette
Hollywood - AFP
Patricia Arquette won the best supporting actress Oscar on Sunday, earning the first Academy Award for a family of actors spanning three generations.
Crowing a three-decade career, the 46-year-old blonde with the icy blue eyes took one of Hollywood's top prizes for playing a single mother in director Richard Linklater's coming-of-age drama "Boyhood."
After thanking her family and co-stars, Arquette made an impassioned plea for "wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America."
The Illinois native had long been the favorite in the category after winning a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and other accolades in the run-up to the Oscars.
She defeated Emma Stone ("Birdman"), Laura Dern ("Wild"), three-time winner Meryl Streep ("Into the Woods") and Britain's Keira Knightley ("The Imitation Game").
The role of Olivia in "Boyhood" -- she chose the name in tribute to her mother -- revived Arquette's big screen career. After tasting success as a movie star in the 1990s, she had shifted her focus to television about 10 years ago.
She called the film a "unique experience" -- the actors filmed for a few days every year for 12 years, following the life of a boy from aged five until going off to college at 18.
- Art imitating life -
Arquette herself was a young mother: she had her first child at age 20, and has been married twice, including to actor Nicolas Cage.
Born on April 8, 1968 in Chicago, she grew up in Virginia. She ran away at 15 to live with her sister Rosanna, nine years her elder.
Rosanna Arquette was one of the most popular actresses of the 1980s, including with the 1985 cult film "Desperately Seeking Susan" and 1988's "The Big Blue," among others.
Brothers David, Richmond and Alexis are also actors, along with father Lewis and her grandfather. Her mother Brenda Denaut -- whose middle name was Olivia -- was a drama teacher.
Arquette scored her first big-screen role at age 19, in 1987's "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors."
Four years later, she appeared in "The Indian Runner" directed by Sean Penn, before hitting the big time with "True Romance" (1993) by Tony Scott, a Bonnie and Clyde-style romp in which she played a prostitute.
Among her most memorable roles are in "Ed Wood" directed by Tim Burton, in which she co-starred with Johnny Depp, and David O Russell's "Flirting with Disaster" (1996), with Ben Stiller.
Her credits also include "Lost Highway" by David Lynch (1997), "The Hi-Lo Country" (1998) by Stephen Frears and Martin Scorsese's "Bringing Out the Dead" (1999), in which she co-starred with Cage, whom she had married in 1995.
After 2000, her career turned towards the small screen. Between 2005 and 2011, she played clairvoyant Allison Dubois on the popular NBC show "Medium."
The role earned her a Primetime Emmy award and three nominations for the Golden Globes.
She also featured in the well-received HBO Prohibition-era crime drama "Boardwalk Empire" and will soon star in "CSI: Cyber," the latest spin-off of the popular CBS crime procedural due to debut next month.
Arquette, who had a second child with actor Thomas Jane, currently lives with painter Eric White.
Since 1997, she has been a charity campaigner against breast cancer, after the death of her mother from the disease.