Post-Oscar: Forest Whitaker's Brilliant Acceptance Speech
by Alex Billington
February 26, 2007
I've been watching the Academy Awards vigorously since I was a young kid. I even remember times on vacations where we had to wheel the one TV out that had cable and flip through the adult channels just to find the Oscars being shown live. I've watched a lot of great actors give their acceptance speeches and those like Halle Berry cry their hearts out on stage. But none other has touched me as deeply and struck a chord so prominently as Forest Whitaker's brilliant speech last night in accepting the Oscar for Best Actor in The Last King of Scotland. I've never really known him before, but his words were some of the most incredible I've heard for an Oscar acceptance speech ever.
If you didn't have a chance to catch the Oscars, or just want to read them again, here's his acceptance speech in full unabridged format.
"Thank you. Thank you. Just a second, just a second. OK. Take it. OK. I wrote something down, because I thought if it would happen that I would be a little overwhelmed and I am. So, OK.
When I was a kid, the only way that I saw movies was from the backseat of my family's car. At the drive-in. And, it wasn't my reality to think I would be acting in movies, so receiving this honor tonight tells me that it's possible. It is possible for a kid from east Texas, raised in South Central L.A. in Carson, who believes in his dreams, commits himself to them with his heart, to touch them, and to have them happen.
Because when I first started acting, it was because of my desire to connect to everyone. To that thing inside each of us. That light that I believe exists in all of us. Because acting for me is about believing in that connection and it's a connection so strong, it's a connection so deep, that we feel it. And through our combined belief, we can create a new reality.
So I want to thank my fellow believers in The Last King of Scotland. I want to thank Peter, Jeremy, Andrea, Lisa, Charles, Kevin, James McAvoy, Kerry, Stephen, Fox, DNA, Channel Four. I want to thank the people of Uganda, who helped this film have a spirit. And finally, I want to thank my mom and my dad. I want to thank my wife Keisha, my children, my ancestors, who continue to guide my steps. And God, God who believes in us all. And who's given me this moment, in this lifetime, that I will hopefully carry to the end of my lifetime into the next lifetime. Thank you."
And now you can actually watch the whole thing again thanks to the joys of YouTube!
Bravo Mr. Whitaker, bravo! I just wanted to show my appreciation and how affected I was by Forest's speech. I hope it will be remembered in history, and I hope his career continues to be incredibly successful.