Hollywood has been putting in the work emotionally. Big winners of the 2023 Critics Choice Awards included the generational-trauma-healing Everything Everywhere at Once, the heartwarming Abbott Elementary, and the … extant Dahmer. Uniting many of the winners were the inspiring acceptance speeches. Niecy Nash-Betts rubbed her success in her doubters’ faces, Jennifer Coolidge called out ageist time frames for success, and Sheryl Lee Ralph went full RuPaul on her self-love crusade. Here are some highlights from the self-helpiest acceptance speeches at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards.
Niecy Nash-Betts, Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television
Niecy Nash-Betts thanked her mother for her award as well as gloating in front of the haters. “When I decided to become an actor, I saw myself doing drama. And the industry was kind, but they said, ‘Stay in your comedy lane.’ Sometimes people wanna leave you where they meet you,” she said. “And I did what I knew to do: I cried. And I said, ‘Mama, don’t you think I’m a good dramatic actress?’ And she said, ‘Girl, I don’t … but you can be. You find best class you can in this town, and I’mma work overtime to pay for it.’ Thank you, mama. All you need is one.”
Jennifer Coolidge, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Jennifer Coolidge continued her streak of killer acceptance speeches for The White Lotus. “For anyone who’s sort of given up hope, I hope this gives you inspiration. It’s not over till it’s over,” she said. “It’s not over till you’re dead.”
Sheryl Lee Ralph, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Sheryl Lee Ralph has also been on an award-acceptance-speech kick. This time, she made sure every single viewer loved themself. “And to all of you watching here, come close to the screen and listen: People don’t have to like you; people don’t have to love you. They don’t even have to respect you.” Okay, dark start, but it got more inspirational: “But when you look in the mirror, you better love what you see,” she said. “You better love what you see.” Can I get an “Amen”?
Janelle Monáe, SeeHer Award
Janelle Monáe, a she/they/free-ass motherfucker, accepted the SeeHer award on behalf of people like them. “If you know my story, I wasn’t supposed to make it outta Kansas City, Kansas, and be here tonight. I wasn’t. I didn’t see the vision clearly for myself,” they said. “I couldn’t see my gift. I couldn’t see what my purpose was supposed to be at that time. But thank you, God, so many other people did. They didn’t give up on me, and they gave me opportunity despite my own lack of confidence. So anyone out there like me watching right now, I just want you to know that I’ve seen you, but I challenge you to see you.”