One of the most touching acceptance speeches at the 2015 Academy Awards came from adapted screenplay winner Graham Moore, who took his 45 seconds on stage to encourage kids to “stay weird, stay different.”
“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong,” said Moore, who won his Academy Award for “The Imitation Game,” the story of pioneering British mathematician Alan Turing, who helped break the Nazis’ Enigma code but was persecuted by his own government for being gay. “And now I’m standing here and, so, I would like this moment to be for the kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. “
FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015
Backstage at the Dolby Theatre, Moore said “depression is something I have dealt with every single day of my life since. But I’m very blessed to have a family that was so supportive then and has been so supportive ever since. My mother, who is just over there somewhere, was sitting next to me tonight, and I know for her, who has seen me in all the stages of this, it was really meaningful. And I feel very blessed to have had friends and family around who are so supportive, and not everyone gets to have that. I’m very aware of how lucky I am.”
Giving the speech, the writer said, wasn’t the easiest.
“It was really hard, but,” he said before pausing. “I’m a writer. When am I ever going to be on television again? I felt I might as well use it to say something meaningful.”
In telling the story of Turing, Graham said, the pressure was immense.
“When you’re approaching a story of this magnitude … there’s a tremendous responsibility on your shoulders,” he said of wanting to tell Turing’s story “fairly, accurately and responsibly.
“I always felt like he needed a film that spread his legacy, that celebrated it and brought it to a new audience of people who might not otherwise have been exposed to this man because history had treated him so poorly.”
As a teen, Graham said, Turing was one of his heroes as a “outsider’s outsider.”
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The full transcript of Moore’s acceptance speech:
“Thank you so much to the Academy and to Oprah for this. I need to shower my love and kisses on everyone who’s a part of our “Imitation Game” family. Morten, Nora, Ido, Teddy, Keira, Benedict, Billy, Alexandre, our entire cast, Maria, who’s back there somewhere. I love you guys so much. Thank you for this film. I’m so indebted to you for it.
“So, here’s the thing: Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out at all of these disconcertingly attractive faces, and I do. And that’s the most unfair thing I think I’ve ever heard.
“So, in this brief time here, what I want to use it to do is to say this: When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here and, so, I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. You do.
“Stay weird. Stay different. And then when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along. Thank you so much.”