Onstage Speech Transcript | 86th Academy Awards

Best Picture


ONSTAGE SPEECH
CATEGORY: Best Picture
SPEECH BY: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers
FILM: "12 Years a Slave"

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Brad Pitt: Thank you all. Thank you for this incredible honor you bestowed on our film tonight. I know I speak for everyone standing behind me that it has been an absolute privilege to work on Solomon’s story. And we all get to stand up here tonight because of one man who brought us all together to tell that story. And that is the indomitable Mr. Steve McQueen.

Steve McQueen: Oh wow. I’m sorry, I apologize for the paper but otherwise I’ll just bore you all. Well, maybe I’ll do the same now but I’ll try not to. I’d first like to thank the Academy. Thank you so much. There are a lot of people for me to thank so I’ll just push on. My wonderful cast and crew, Plan B, Brad Pitt, who without him this film would just not have been made. Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Anthony Katagas. River Road, Bill Pohlad, New Regency, Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston. Film4, to the great Tessa Ross. And Fox Searchlight, Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley, and their fantastic team.

My publicist Paula Woods, I’m sorry about this, for her hard work. April Lamb, and my magnificent agents. I have to say this to all these women, I have all the women in my life and they’re all the most powerful. And my mother, obviously. Maha Dakhil – I can’t even pronounce it. Maha, I’m nervous, I can’t pronounce your name, you know who you are – Beth Swofford, Jenne Casarotto and Jodi Shields. Just give me one more minute. I’d like to thank this amazing historian, Sue Eakin, whose life, she gave her life’s work to preserving Solomon’s book. I’d like to thank my partner, Bianca Stigter, for unearthing this treasure for me. Finally, I thank my mother. My mum’s up there. Thank you for your hard-headedness, Mum, thank you. And my children, Alex and Dexter. And my father, thank you.

The last word: everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery. And the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today. Thank you very much. Thank you.

 

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