Golden Globes: Most Memorable Speeches

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Denzel Washington, Taraji P. Henderson and Leonardo DiCaprio accepting their awards at the 2016 Golden Globes

Leonardo DiCaprio, Taraji P. Henson and Denzel Washington all had memorable turns at the microphone.

The 2016 Golden Globes, hosted by Ricky Gervais, were full of jokes that made Hollywood a dirty punchline. But true to form, those moments were offset by speeches that were gracious, thankful and sometimes funny in their own right.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson, Sylvester Stallone and Denzel Washington all delivered speeches that were memorable for their earnest gratitude, while the speeches of Taraji P. Henson, Rachel Bloom and Quentin Tarrantino — who accepted the Globe for best original score on behalf of composer Ennio Morricone — while no less thankful, were particularly memorable for the energy and elation they brought to the stage. 

DiCaprio, who won the Globe for best performance by an actor in a motion picture, drama for his performance in The Revenant, gave thanks to the cast and crew and for director Alejandro Inarritu's leadership through the notoriously challenging conditions that the cast and crew faced while filming. He then used the end of his speech to highlight an issue embodied in the film. "And lastly, I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film, and all the indigenous communities around the world," he said. "It is time that we recognize your history, and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interest and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations."

Brie Larson, accepting the award for best actress in a motion picture, drama for Room, began with a shout-out to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, saying " It's been such a pleasure getting to know you, you're such an incredible bunch of people!" After thanking writer Emma Donoghue, director Lenny Abramson and her family and friends, she saved the most intimate gratitude for last, saying "And thank you, Alex, my love. I can't believe this." And, finally, perhaps providing a solution to the awards-show tradition of racing through a list of names as the music cues it's time to get off the stage, Larson added: "I'm sorry to anyone I forgot, I'll write you a thank-you card."

Taraji P. Henson, in a nod to her role as Cookie Lyon on Empire, grabbed a handful of cookies from her table and handed them out on her way to accept her award for best performance by an actress in a TV series, drama. "Cookies for everyone tonight. My treat!" And in true Cookie spirit, Henson refused to yield the stage when she was cued by a producer to wrap up her speech. "Please wrap?" she said in the direction of the producer. "Wait a minute. I've waited 20 years for this, you gon' wait! You're gonna give me a little more time. My fans, they've been praying for this. They're all on Twitter like, 'Yeah yeah, hope you get it.' You gotta give me time."

Sylvester Stallone, on the other hand, was slammed by users on Twitter for forgetting to thank director Ryan Coogler and his co-star Michael B. Jordan as he accepted the award for best supporting actor for his performance in Creed. (He later returned to the stage during a commercial break to thank them.) But aside from that unfortunate omission, Stallone's speech was a heartfelt tribute to a lifetime of playing Rocky Balboa. "Last time I was here, it was 1977 and I was kind of hit by tumbleweed. It was a long time ago. It was a different situation. And the view is so beautiful now," he said. After thanking his family and producers, Sly moved on to acknowledge a particularly important presence in his life: "Most of all," he said, "I wanna thank my imaginary friend Rocky Balboa for being the best friend I ever had."

Quentin Tarantino, accepting the award for best original score for The Hateful Eight on behalf of composer Ennio Morricone, took a dig at the category of movie composers even as he celebrated the prolific 87-year-old Morricone.  "This is really cool," Tarantino said. "As far as I'm concerned, he's my favorite composer. And when I say favorite composer, I don't mean movie composer — that's ghetto. I'm talking about Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert. That's who I'm talking about."

Breakout star of critical darling My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rachel Bloom accepted the award for best performance by an actress in a television series, comedy or musical with all the exuberance one might expect from a first-time show creator and actress whose show very barely was made. "We almost didn’t have a show," Bloom said breathlessly. We made a pilot for another network, and they rejected it. And we sent the pilot to every other network in Hollywood, and we got six rejections in one day. … But we knew it was good, and [president] Mark Pedowitz from The CW picked it out … and he’s the reason that there is a musical comedy on network television right now, and I can't believe I'm saying that!"

Denzel Washington brought his wife and three of his four kids onstage to accept the Cecil B. DeMille award and delivered a speech that carried several moments of humor as he reflected on his history with the Golden Globes.

"You really do forget everything you're supposed to do," Washington said as he began his speech. His wife then asked him if he needed his glasses, getting a big laugh from the audience. "Nah, I can see without them," he said. "I'm speechless. Just thank you.

Washington spent a good chunk of his speech thanking the foreign press. He then told a story about agent Freddy Fields and playing the Hollywood game of winning over the foreign press. "Freddy Fields. Some of you may know Freddy Fields, he invited me to the first Hollywood Foreign Press luncheon," Washington told the crowd. "He said, 'They're gonna watch the movie, we're gonna feed them, they're gonna come over, you're gonna take pictures with everybody, you're gonna hold the magazines, take the pictures, and you're gonna win the award.' I won that year. I wanna thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for supporting me over the years. They've always made me feel like a friend — part of the party."

Two presenters also offered introductions that stood out from the rest.

Tom Hanks delivered a moving tribute to Washington, introducing a compilation of footage from Washington's films, before presenting his Philadelphia co-star with the Cecil B. DeMille award.

"Great cinema lasts forever and a great actor will forever astound us," Hanks started. "Now these clips will remind us that a single name can be a superlative, synonymous with extraordinary. A single name can define an artist who is a peer and an equal of all the greatest legends of our craft. And if Washington doesn't ring out loud enough, let the first name carry all the weight. And that name is Denzel."


Jim Carrey took a simultaneously funny and existential approach to his presentation of the award for best motion picture comedy, poking fun at the ultimate meaningless of the Golden Globes in the grand scheme of things. "I am two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey," he announced when he took the stage. "You know when I go to sleep at night, I'm not just a guy going to sleep. I'm two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey going to get some well-needed shut-eye. And when I dream, I don't just dream any old dream. I dream about being three-time Golden Globe-winning actor Jim Carrey because then it would be enough," Carrey said, getting a huge laugh. "It would finally be true, and I could stop this terrible search for what I know ultimately won't fulfill me.

"But these are important, these awards," he said with a grin. "I don't want you to think that if you blew up our solar system alone and you couldn't find us or any of human history with the naked eye —" he trailed off, before saying, "But from our perspective … this is huge."