It’s no secret that America Ferrera knows how to deliver a powerful monologue. Her speech in one of 2023's best movies, Barbie, went viral for conveying to the world how difficult it is to be a woman, even in today’s society. Several of her other characters like Betty Suarez in Ugly Betty and Carmen Lowell in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series have had equally moving monologues that worked, thanks to Ferrera’s beautiful performance. Her words in Greta Gerwig's fantastical comedy are sweet, but Ferrera's latest award acceptance speech may be even better.
It should come as no surprise then that the star delivered a beautiful, inspirational, and poignant speech at the 2024 Critics' Choice Awards. She was honored with the SeeHer Award, which celebrates an actress who advocates “for gender equality and portray authentic, boundary-pushing characters.” It’s an incredible honor, and the Superstore actress (via THR) didn’t shy away from how humbled she was to be this year’s recipient:
Receiving the SeeHer Award for my contributions to more authentic portrayals of women and girls — could it be more meaningful to me? Because I grew up as a first-generational Honduran American girl in love with TV, film, and theater, who desperately wanted to be a part of the storytelling legacy that I could not see myself reflected in.
Instead of letting the lack of representation stop her, she worked hard to break into Hollywood and create a space for herself and other Latina actresses who have come after her. As Margot Robbie noted in her presentation of the award, America Ferrera remains the first and only Latina to win the Emmy for Lead Actress in A Comedy Series — an award which she won for her role in Ugly Betty. However, she might have some company after January 15th, if Jenna Ortega wins the Emmy for her role as the eponymous character in Netflix's Wednesday series.
As the Gentefied director continued, she made a point to mention the incredible Latina talent that is ushering in a new generation of storytelling in Hollywood. The speech really hit its stride though, when the fan-favorite actress made it a point to mention that diversity in all forms matters in the industry:
To me, this is the best and highest use of storytelling to affirm one another’s full humanity, to uphold the truth that we are all worthy of being seen — Black, brown, Indigenous, Asian, trans, disabled, any body, any type, any gender. We are all worthy of having our lives richly and authentically reflective.
Based on the thunderous applause in the audience and the outpouring of support on social media, the world seems to agree with her. She moved the audience to tears, including her fellow Barbie cast member, Ryan Gosling. The actor got his own shoutout (and Critics' Choice Award win for "I'm Just Ken") along with the other men in the movie for being “man enough to support women’s work.”
True to her comedic roots, America Ferrera also made the audience laugh a handful of times. At one point, she even instructed the teleprompter operator to keep scrolling, because she cut a portion out of her script. Another funny moment happened later when she went to thank her husband, Ryan, but felt the need to clarify it wasn’t Gosling she was talking about.
The Barbie monologue might go down in film history (even though it's not Greta Gerwig's favorite dialogue from the movie). However, the SeeHer acceptance speech might actually be better. (Sorry, Greta!) In both cases, the words are only as impactful as they are because of America Ferrera’s passion and belief in what she’s saying.
Unfortunately, if you missed the Critics Choice Awards you’re going to have to rely on YouTube clips to catch up. However, you can revisit the star's iconic Barbie moment by streaming the movie with a Max subscription. You can also visit her iconic work in Ugly Betty which can be streamed using a Netflix subscription.