Going in to the Oscars ceremony last night, there was really no doubt that Jared Leto would walk away with the Best Supporting Actor trophy. His phenomenal turn as the transgendered female Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club won hearts and voters from the moment the movie opened. Shocking absolutely no one, Anne Hathaway announced Leto as the winner of the show’s first awarded trophy, leading to him give an acceptance speech as memorable as his performance.
The actor and 30 Seconds to Mars front man received his trophy looking dapper in a white jacket, black pants and carmine silky bow tie, courtesy of Saint Laurent designer and friend, Hedi Slimane. From the moment he began speaking, Leto was eloquent, humble, and endearing.
The 42-year-old star, looking no more than 32, began his speech by telling the audience about a teenage girl from Louisana. He described her as a high school dropout and single mom who “somehow managed to make a better life for herself and her children,” and who encouraged them to “be creative and work hard and do something special.” He revealed that that woman was his mother Constance, who sat next to him throughout the awards ceremony. She was his date to the Oscars, along with Leto’s brother Shannon, a percussion player and member of 30 Seconds to Mars.
“Thank you for teaching me to dream,” he told his mom. He also thanked Shannon for sharing in the dream that is their rock band.
In addition to the sweet shout outs to his family, Leto also brought attention to the telecast’s worldwide viewing audience, taking a moment to recognize the embattled nations of Ukraine and Venezuela. “As you struggle to make your dreams happen to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight,” Leto said.
Lastly, Leto spoke directly to members of the community he represented through his stellar performance. He finished his speech by acknowledging the “36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS,” as well as anyone “who ever felt injustice for who you are and who you love.”
“Tonight I stand in front of the world for you,” the first-time Oscar winner said, again gaining fans and touching hearts.
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)