From Brendan Fraser to Angela Bassett—6 Best Speeches From the Critics' Choice Awards

There was no shortage of moving, inspiring, and touching speeches.

The Critics Choice Awards, which took place in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, honored the best in cinematic and television achievement for the last year.

Naturally, there were a slew of incredible winners with inspiring, touching, and emotional speeches.

If you missed the show, you can see all the night’s big winners and check out the best red carpet fashion.

And now… we present—the best five speeches from the 2023 Critics Choice Awards from Brendan Fraser, Angela Bassett, Jeff Bridges, and more!

Sheryl Lee Ralph

The Abbott Elementary actress, who won for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, delivered an encouraging and heartfelt speech chock-full of advice for young actors.

"Ever mistake, every back break, every 'No', every rejection in an industry that when I was 19 years old was quick to tell me there was no place for me," she began, adding, "Sidney Poitier looked at me and said, 'You're a damn good actress.'"

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: (L-R) Henry Winkler accepts the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award for "Barry" and Sheryl Lee Ralph accepts the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award for "Abbott Elementary" onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on <a href="https://parade.com/living/january-holidays-observances" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:January" class="link ">January</a> 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)<p><a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/1456682785" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Winter/Getty Images" class="link ">Kevin Winter/Getty Images</a></p>
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: (L-R) Henry Winkler accepts the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award for "Barry" and Sheryl Lee Ralph accepts the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award for "Abbott Elementary" onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

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"That God could lead me to a moment when a young woman by the name of Quinta Brunson would look at me and say, 'Ms. Ralph, I'm not sleeping on your talent,'" she continued praising her co-stars.

She then took it home, stating: "To all of you watching, come close to the screen and listen. People don't have to like you, people don't have to love you, people don't even have to respect you. But when you look in the mirror, you better love what you see!"

Niecy Nash-Betts

The actress took home the award in the Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series category for the role of Glenda Cleveland in Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

“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 want to leave you where they meet you. And I did what I normally do: I cry,” she began, recalling, “I told my mother and I said, ‘Momma, don’t you think I’m a good dramatic actress?’ And she said, ‘Girl, I don’t.’”

<p><a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/1456682955" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Winter/Getty Images" class="link ">Kevin Winter/Getty Images</a></p>

“But you can be! You find the best class in this town and I will work overtime to pay for it.’ Thank you, momma. All you need is one!” she said, going on to thank her loved ones and those in the industry who gave her a chance.

She then made it a point to call out those who did not believe in her, expressing: “Finally, to everybody who doubted this Black woman and told me what I couldn’t do, I want to lovely and humbly say, ‘In your face!’”

Brendan Fraser

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Upon hearing his name called as the winner for Best Actor in The Whale, Fraser was overcome with emotions, leading to a very moving speech that ended with a standing ovation from the crowd.

“It was Herman Melville who once wrote that there are only five critics in America — the rest are asleep. I don't know what it means, either, but I'm sure glad you woke up for me. Where were you for Furry Vengeance?!” he joked.

He said his drama was “about love” and “about redemption. “It's about finding the light in a dark place, and I'm so lucky to have worked with an ensemble that is incredible," he said, specifically singing the praises of his co-star, Stranger Things Sadie Sink, along with many others who worked on the film.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: Brendan Fraser accepts the Best Actor award for "The Whale" onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)<p><a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/1456678429" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Winter/Getty Images" class="link ">Kevin Winter/Getty Images</a></p>
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: Brendan Fraser accepts the Best Actor award for "The Whale" onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

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"And Darren Aronofsky, I was in the wilderness — and I probably should've left a trail of breadcrumbs — but you found me, and like all the best directors, you merely just showed me where to go to get me where I needed to be," Fraser said.

"If you — like Charlie, who I played in this movie — in any way, struggle with obesity, or you just feel like you're in a dark sea, I want you to know that if you, too, can have the strength to just get to your feet and go to the light, good things will happen,” he concluded triumphantly.

Angela Bassett

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The star accepted the award for Best Supporting Actress in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

"We showed the world that we could create and lead a billion-dollar box-office success. And my prayer is that that door remains open and the sky is the limit for other Black creators and storytellers around the world to join us,” she said of her colleagues on the Black Panther films.

A special thank you was lifted up for the late Chadwick Boseman, who starred as King T'Challa in the first film and passed away in 2020 after a four-year cancer battle.

"We couldn't have made history, then and now, without you,” she added.

In an earlier part of the speech, she recalled the moment she “fell in love” with acting, during a school trip to Washington D.C., adding, "I knew in that moment that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to make people feel the way that I felt, stirring in my seat as those actors drew me in, scene by scene, into their story.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: Angela Bassett accepts the Best Supporting Actress award for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)<p><a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/1456682560" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Winter/Getty Images" class="link ">Kevin Winter/Getty Images</a></p>
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: Angela Bassett accepts the Best Supporting Actress award for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

She expressed gratitude for the “giants” in the industry leading the way, calling out "Black actresses with extraordinary talent, like Ruby Dee and Cicely Tyson, Rosalind Cash and Diahann Carroll."

"It was their extraordinary work that showed me that there was a place for me in this business of show, especially at a time where Black women weren't shown in a significant way, oftentimes — not really present on television or the big screen. But thank God for them.”

Cate Blanchett

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The actress who won in the Best Actress category for her performance in Tár suggested that award shows should undergo a bit of a transformation, noting that the term “best actress" is "arbitrary" especially with “how many extraordinary performances" were done by women last year.”

"I would love it if we would just change this whole f---ing structure. It's like what is this patriarchal pyramid where someone stands up here. Why don't we just say there was a whole raft of female performances that are in concert and in dialogue with one another?"

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: Cate Blanchett accepts the Best Actress award for "Tár" onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)<p><a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/1456679606" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Winter/Getty Images" class="link ">Kevin Winter/Getty Images</a></p>
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: Cate Blanchett accepts the Best Actress award for "Tár" onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"And stop the televised horse race of it all," continued Blanchett. "Because, can I tell you, every single woman with a television, film, advertising, tampon commercials — whatever — you're all out there doing amazing work that is inspiring me continually. So thank you. I share this with you all."

Jeff Bridges

The actor received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the show.

He explained it would have been his father’s birthday today, adding that he’s the “reason that I’m up here.”

“I can remember him loving showbiz so much, loving acting so much, and as a kid I said, 'You know, Dad, I'm not sure I wanna be an actor.' He goes, 'What are you talkin' about?' I said, 'I wanna do painting maybe, music.' He said, 'Jeff, don't be ridiculous. Being an actor, they're gonna call on you to do all of those things you're interested in. And besides that, you're gonna get to tell all these wonderful stories from all these different perspectives of people that are alive. This is a wonderful profession.'”

"This is a wonderful profession. He is so right. I am so glad I listened to him,” he said, going on to thank his “supportive family.”

"But telling stories. That's the privilege us actors get to do," he said. "We get to say some wonderful lines. One of my favorite lines was from a movie, Star Man. Playing an alien, who happened to be sort of a critic in a way. He certainly had a strong opinion. Strong opinions about us. He said, 'You know what I love most about you beings is that you are best when things are at their worst.'"

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: Jeff Bridges accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)<p><a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/1456670508" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Winter/Getty Images" class="link ">Kevin Winter/Getty Images</a></p>
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 15: Jeff Bridges accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

He concluded: "I love that, because especially in these days, we are going through some tough times, and we could use our best. It makes me, it makes me want to tell the best story, live the best story and we can. Together we can do that. We can make something beautiful."