Oscar acceptance speeches can range anywhere from frustratingly banal to total rambling messes, but on a whole, this year’s Oscar winners delivered some real gems. From the lovable, delightful weirdos who made Mad Max: Fury Road roar to life to Leonardo DiCaprio’s well-rehearsed opus on climate change, each speech had its own quirks. But none melted our jaded hearts quite like Pete Docter’s inspirational speech to struggling kids everywhere.
Docter and producer Jonas Rivera took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature for Inside Out, one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. Directed by Docter, a valued member of Pixar’s coveted brain trust and the genius behind Monsters, Inc. and Up, Inside Out takes place mostly in the head of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, who has just moved with her parents from Minnesota to San Francisco. She has to attend a new school, make new friends, and sacrifice her favorite pizza toppings in favor of kale and broccoli (yuck) — and all of these changes have a tumultuous effect on Riley’s emotions.
Adolescence isn’t easy, and that’s exactly what made Inside Out so special for kids and adults alike. That and, well, Bing Bong — the sweet, fluffy pink creature from young Riley’s imagination who, by his own admission, is comprised of cat, elephant, and dolphin (with a body made of sticky-sweet cotton candy) — who may have had a hand in writing Docter’s speech.
“This film was really born out of watching our kids grow up, which is not easy,” Docter said, holding his Oscar. “Anyone out there who’s in junior high, high school, working it out, suffering — there are days you’re going to feel sad. You’re going to feel angry. You’re going to feel scared. That’s nothing you can choose. But you can make stuff. Make films. Draw. Write. It will make a world of difference.”