“For any of you out there who do in fact feel hopeless or alone,” said Jessica Chastain in her Oscar-winning speech for the role of the titular televangelist in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, “I just want you to know that you’re unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that is you.”
Jessica Chastain won the Oscar for Outstanding Lead Actress at the 94th Academy Awards for her role as Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, a televangelist who championed the LGBTQ+ community later in life. This marks Chastain’s first win at the Academy Awards. Her past nominations include Supporting Actress for The Help (2012) and Lead Actress for Zero Dark Thirty (2013).
Chastain used her moment in the spotlight to highlight an issue close to her heart. As part of her acceptance speech, she touched upon the plight of suicide sweeping the nation and noted how it’s an epidemic that has also touched her own family.
In 2003, Chastain lost her 24-year-old sister, Juliet, to suicide. Juliet struggled with drug abuse and had attempted to take her own life multiple times, Chastain later told Modern Luxury in 2016.The tragedy inspired Chastain’s involvement with To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those who struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts.
Watch Jessica Chastain’s Acceptance Speech
In case you missed Chastain’s wonderful and heartfelt moment at the Dolby Theatre, you can find the full acceptance speech below.
Chastain not only noted the difficult times people around the world faced with the pandemic, but the onslaught of hate crimes perpetrated against LGBTQ+ people – a community that was given a voice by Tammy Faye in a redemptive turn of events following her superficial career as a televangelist with her husband Jim Bakker.
“Right now we’re coming out of some difficult times filled with a lot of trauma and isolation, and so many people out there feel hopelessness and they feel alone, and suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. It’s touched many families, it’s touched mine, especially members of the LGBTQ community who often feel out of place with their peers. We’re faced with discriminatory and bigoted legislation sweeping our country with the only goal of further dividing us. There is violence and hate crimes being perpetrated on innocent civilians all over the world.
“In times like this, I think of Tammy, and I’m inspired by her radical acts of love. I’m inspired by her compassion and I see it as a guiding principle that leads us forward, and it connects us all in the desire that we want to be accepted for who we are, for who we love, and to live a life without the fear of violence or terror. For any of you out there who do in fact feel hopeless or alone, I just want you to know that you’re unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that is you.” –Jessica Chastain
Let’s Spread Mental Health Awareness Together
Sometimes in life, we face challenges that seem too great to overcome. Just remember, you are never alone, and as Chastain articulated so eloquently, “you’re unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that is you” – let her statement become your mantra to bolster your own self-love.
As filmmakers, we may have a difficult time managing our work-life balance. This alone might make you feel like you’re not good enough. Or, perhaps, your expectations are set so high that you fear failure. However, life on set does not define you. We all struggle; whether it’s facing the long days that sometimes feel insurmountable, or setting our sights so high they may be unachievable. If you feel out of sorts, or find yourself in a dark place, please take a moment to pause and reflect. Say this out loud: ‘I am loved and I am not alone.’
If you have friends or family members that you can seek out, they want to hear from you. However, this isn’t always the case for all of us – and that’s okay! Please seek out support people who — we promise — care about you and want you to do well. So, if things feel like they are too much sometimes, please make sure you talk to people about your problems because a problem shared is a problem solved.
Ways You Can Take Action
Setting goals can even help when you’re experiencing a low point. Perhaps you set an objective to help three others every week – and it doesn’t even have to be people. You could lend a helping hand to an animal shelter or tend to a garden. You will surely discover just how much you mean to those around you. For one, you matter to us.
We at Filmmakers Academy hope that our readers feel as empowered by Jessica Chastain’s timely speech as we do. You deserve all the love, happiness, and success.
Remember: if you’re feeling off, reach out, and don’t feel ashamed about the fact that you’re struggling. Talk to people you love and trust. And, if you see someone struggling, reach out and offer support.
For Help With Mental Health
Millions of Americans struggle with their mental health in the form of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, there are resources to help you that are both preventative and there in your time of need.
Let’s fight the stigma around mental health. Everyone struggles at some point. It’s not a rare issue. That’s why we prefer to avoid the term “mental illness” altogether. Through education and support, we wish to provide the best resources to support mental health for those who suffer from negative bouts.
Are you struggling with your mental health? Please refer to the list below for help.
- National Suicide Hotline – (800) 273-8255
- Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life By Jill Bolte Taylor