by Alikay Wood
Since 1929, the Academy Awards have been the benchmark for excellence in film. Each year the show—the oldest entertainment award show of its kind—delivers laughs, lively performances and uplifting quotes from the winners. Here are some of our favorite quotes from inspiring Academy Award acceptance speeches.
In his 2014 acceptance speech for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey offered life advice and gratitude to God.
“First off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to,” McConaughey said. “He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.”
Jennifer Hudson was shocked when her Dreamgirls role led to her winning Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the 2007 Oscars. But she knew exactly who was responsible.
“I have to just take this moment in,” Hudson said. “I cannot believe this. Look what God can do...Wow, I don’t know what to say but I thank you all for helping me keep the faith even when I didn’t believe. Thank you and God bless you all.”
In 2002, when Denzel Washington won Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role in Training Day he said “God bless you,” three times. His thankfulness overwhelmed him.
“Oh God is good,” Washington said. “God is great. God is great. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.”
In 2014, Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her part in Twelve Years a Slave, a project she referred to as “the joy of my life.”
“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,” Nyong’o said.
When she won her second Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role in Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank was overcome with emotion.
“I don't know what I did in this life to deserve all this,” Swank said. “I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.”
Click on a picture to enjoy more inspiring photos and stories.