March 2002


Oh, my god. Oh, my god. I'm sorry. This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It's for the women who stand behind me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox and it's for every nameless faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I'm so honored.

I'm so honored and I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which His blessing may flow. I want to thank my manager, Vincent Cirrincione. He's been with me for 12 long years and you fought every fight and you loved me when I've been up. But more importantly you've loved me when I've been down. You have been a manager, a friend and the only father I've ever known. Really, I love you very much.

I want to thank my mom who has given me the strength to fight every single day, to be who I want to be and to give me the courage to dream, that this dream might be happening and is possible for me. I love you, Mom, so much. Thank you. My husband who is just a joy of my life. And India, thank you for giving me peace, because only with the peace that you've brought me have I been allowed to go to places that I never knew I could go. Thank you. I love you and India with all my heart.

I want to thank Lions Gate, thank you, Mike Paseornek. Tom Ortenberg for making sure everybody knew about this little tiny movie. Thank you. Our director Marc Forster, you're a genius. You're a genius. This moviemaking experience was magical for me because of you. You believed in me, you trusted me and you gently guided me to very scary places. I thank you. I want to thank Ivana Chubic, I could have never figured out who the heck this lady was without you. I love you. Thank you. I want to thank Lee Daniels, our producer. Thank you for giving me this chance, for believing that I could do it. And now tonight I have this. Thank you. I want to thank my agent at CAA, Josh Lieberman, especially I have to thank my agents, Kevin, thank you, thank you for never kicking me out and sending me somewhere else. Thank you. Who else? I have so many people that I know I need to thank. My lawyers, Neil Meyer, thank you. Okay, wait a minute. I got to take 74 years here. I got to take this time. I got to thank my lawyer, Neil Meyer for making this deal, Doug Stone.

I need to thank lastly and not leastly, I have to thank Spike Lee for putting me in my very first film and believing in me. Oprah Winfrey for being the best role model any girl can have, Joel Silver, thank you. And thank you to Warren Beatty. Thank you so much for being my mentors and believing in me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.