14 Unforgettable Awards Show Quotes From Winners Who Got Real AF

Anne Meadows | Feb 24, 2017 Celebrities

Adele Grammys speech quoteHeadlinephoto / Splash News; design by Anne Meadows

We definitely don't tune in to award shows to see movie, music, or TV industry stars pat each other on the back. We're there for the spectacle. Whether it's making a fashion statement, political statement, or just plain acting out, when celebs go off script, we are always ready with the popcorn to watch what literally happens live. 

Sometimes, though, celebs use their moment on stage to get real and speak directly to the public. Their inspirational messages spark conversations for weeks after the show, and are worth remembering even longer -- so pin these to your favorite quote board today!

  • Halle Berry

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    Halle Berry made history in 2001 when she earned an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for Monster's Ball. Once she recovered from her shock, she humbly recognized the women of color whose outstanding work had yet to be recognized by the Academy. We're still waiting for more women to walk through that door, but we're glad Halle was the one to open it.

  • David Harbour

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    The 2017 SAG awards aired just two days after President Trump signed his controversial executive order banning immigration from seven countries, and the topic was the talk of the night. David Harbour, accepting the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series on behalf of the Stranger Things cast, gave a prepared speech that left many of us (most notably, costar Winona Ryder) in shock and awe. Now that is truly outstanding.  

  • Patricia Arquette

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    Patricia Arquette took the opportunity when accepting her Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2015 for Boyhood to speak out for equal pay for women -- not just in Hollywood but in the United States overall. 

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  • Jeffrey Tambor

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    Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TNT; design by Anne Meadows

    Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor used his acceptance speech for Lead Actor in a Comedy at the 2016 Emmys to urge producers to include more transgender representation in the arts. "Please give transgender talent a chance. Give them auditions," he said. "Give them their story." We, the audience, couldn't agree more. 

  • Pete Docter

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    During his acceptance speech for Best Animated Feature at 2016's Oscars, Inside Out director Pete Docter encouraged "anyone out there who’s in junior high, high school, working it out, suffering" to stick it out through rough days by turning to creative outlets. Art can aid in the moment to help kids deal -- and you never know where it could lead (um, hello, the Oscars?). 

  • Beyonce

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    After Beyonce wowed the audience with her ethereal and goddess-inspired performance of "Love Drought" and "Sandcastles" at the 2017 Grammys, she spoke of her intent in creating the album Lemonade during her acceptance speech for Best Urban Contemporary Album.

    "It's important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families -- as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House, and the Grammys -- and see themselves, and have no doubt that they're beautiful, intelligent, and capable. This is something I want for every child of every race. And I feel it's vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes." We hear you, Bey! 

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  • Graham Moore

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    Splash News; design by Anne Meadows

    Graham Moore laid it all out in his Oscar acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay for 2015's The Imitation Game. "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." He urged people who felt the same to stay true to themselves. "And then when it's your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along." Wow, his candid, compassionate speech was inspiring, don't you think? 

  • Jared Leto

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    Jason Merritt/Getty Images; design by Anne Meadows

    Jared Leto's full-on support for LGBT folks at the 2014 Oscars (where he won Best Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club) was both uplifting and heartwarming in its message and genuine spirit.

  • Leonardo DiCaprio

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    Leo has long been an outspoken advocate for the planet. After thanking his director and his parents, he shifted his Best Actor Oscar speech (for 2015's The Revenant) to talk about the climate change issue that affect us all. He shared that the film's "production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow," and concluded his speech by saying, "Let us not take this planet for granted." 

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  • Lily Tomlin

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    David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images; design by Anne Meadows

    When actor Lily Tomlin recieved the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 SAG Awards, she noted, "After 50 years in the business, I find young actors are asking me for sage advice." In addition to encouraging them to use sunscreen, not lose sleep over missing an opportunity, and never, ever leave the house drunk, Lily advised younger actors to thank those who make their success possible, saying, "My partner, writer Jane Wagner, is the woman whose shoulders I stand the tallest on." Wise words, Lily!

  • Taraji P. Henson

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    The powerful story told in the film Hidden Figures of three African-American women mathematicians who worked for NASA in the early 1960s is definitely a source for inspiration. While accepting the SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast for Hidden Figures, Taraji P. Henson brought the truth of their story to modern day by reminding us that in any challenge, love always wins. 

  • Adele

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    Headlinephoto / Splash News; design by Anne Meadows

    Adele swept the Grammys in 2017 -- claiming five awards, including Album of the Year. During her acceptance speech, she opened up about her experience with motherhood, sharing that she discovered she was pregnant shortly after receiving her Grammy five years before. She admitted that managing her career and motherhood has been a struggle, but that winning the Grammy this year "feels full-circle," as she's started to feel a bit more like herself. It's so refreshing to see a prominent star -- literally as she is being recognized for her work -- share the truth about keeping it all together as a mom. All the more reason to love Adele!

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  • Lupita Nyong'o

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    In 2014, few people had heard the name Lupita Nyong'o. 2013's 12 Years a Slave was her film debut, and she made a major impression with her performance -- winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Her speech made quite an impression, too -- she thanked the spirit of the girl she had played in the film along with the American abolitionist who wrote the memoir telling her story. Lupita charmed us all by wrapping up her speech with the inspiring final line: "When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you're from your dreams are valid."

  • Sarah Paulson

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    Photo Image Press/Splash News; design by Anne Meadows

    Joining the ranks of celebs speaking out at the 2017 SAG Awards, Sarah Paulson used her acceptance speech for her Best Female Actor in a limited series (for The People v. O.J. Simpson) to encourage people to "protect the rights and liberties of people across this country" by donating to the ACLU. "Silence is not golden at this time," she added backstage. You tell 'em, girl. 

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