Whitaker wins the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Idi Amin in Kevin MacDonald’s biopic The Last King of Scotland. Reese Witherspoon presents the award.
When I was a kid the only way that I saw movies was from the backseat of my family’s car at the drive-in, and it wasn’t my reality to think I would be acting in movies. So receiving this honor tonight tells me that it’s possible, it is possible for a kid from east Texas, raised in South Central L.A., in Carson, who believes in his dreams, commits himself to them with his heart, to touch them and to have them happen. Because when I first started acting, it was because of my desire to connect to everyone, to that thing inside each of us, that light that I believe exists in all of us. Because acting for me is about believing in that connection; and it’s a connection so strong, it’s a connection so deep that we feel it and through our combined belief we can create a new reality.