Matthew McConaughey was the favorite to win Best Actor at the 86th Academy Awards, and that’s in fact what happened. The “Dallas Buyers Club” star and first-time nominee did not shrink from the moment, delivering a thoughtful and passionate speech that hit a lot of nice notes.
Here’s the text of McConaughey’s acceptance speech.
“Thank you. Thank you to the academy for this — all 6000 members. Thank you to the other nominees. All these performances were impeccable, in my opinion; I didn’t see a false note anywhere. I want to thank [‘Dallas Buyers Club’ director] Jean-Marc Vallee, [co-stars] Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, who I worked with daily.
“There are three things that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase. Now, first off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to. 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. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton, ‘When you got God, you got a friend, and that friend is you.’
“To my family, that’s who I look forward to, to my father, who I know is up there with a big pot of gumbo, and a lemon meringue pie, and he’s probably in his underwear, and he’s got a cold can of Miller Lite and he’s dancing. To you, dad, you taught me what it means to be a man. To my mother, who is here tonight, who taught me and my two brothers, demanded that we respect ourselves, and what we in turn learned is then we were better able to respect others. To my wife, Camilla, and my kids, Levi, Vita, and Mr. Stone, the courage and significance you give me every day I go out the door is unparalleled. You are the four people in my life that I want to make the most proud.
“And to my hero, that’s who I chase. When I was 15 years old I had a very important person in my life ask me who was my hero, and I said ‘I don’t know. I gotta think about that, give me a few weeks.’ And I come back two weeks later, and they said ‘Who’s your hero?’ and I said, ‘You know, I thought about it. It’s me in 10 years. So I turn 25 ten years later, and that same person asked me ‘Are you your hero?’ and I was like, ‘Not even close.’ And she said ‘Why not?’ and I said, ‘My hero is me at 35.’ So every day, every week, every month, every year of my life, my hero is always 10 years away. I’m never going to attain that, I know I’m not. That keeps me the somebody to keep on chasing.
“So to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever we look forward to, and whoever it is we’re chasin’, to that I say Amen. To that I say, all right, all right, all right. To that I say just keep livin’.”