Some award show speeches are so inspiring, so iconic, you want to jump up out of your couch and cheer along with the celeb standing at the podium. We all remember watching the television when we saw Halle Berry accept the Oscar for Best Actress, or when Heath Ledger's family collected his posthumous award for The Dark Knight.
Award shows are often criticized for being shallow and self-congratulatory, but these celebrities rose to the occasion to use their time powerfully. While the entire nation was watching live, they used their enormous platforms to advocate for causes like equal pay, people of color in the industry, and climate change. Some celebs, like Fiona Apple, used that moment to say something profound about how we act as people, and how the very notion of celebrity is, in her words, "bullshit," and how we should "go with" ourselves. These award acceptance speeches remind us that Hollywood and the entertainment industry aren't afraid to call out the destructive forces at large, even if it sometimes seems like they are.
And sometimes, they can be used to break down barriers. While Berry still remains the only black woman to have won an Academy Award for Best Actress, she shattered that glass ceiling and mentioned by name her contemporaries: Vivica Fox, Jada Pinkett Smith, among others. For that, her win was historically important, and in her speech, she showed up beautifully to the moment. We're hoping to see more actors of color win awards, but will always remember her speech as giving us hope. Check out more inspiring speeches in this slideshow.