Michael Keaton gave an emotional acceptance speech at the SAG Awards after winning Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series for his work in the Hulu limited series Dopesick.
Dopesick follows individuals and families affected by the crisis of opioid addiction in the US, as well as the legal case against Purdue Pharma. Keaton took home the award for his role as Dr. Samuel Finnix, a respected physician in his local mining town who is convinced by a Purdue Pharma sales rep to start prescribing his patients OxyContin after assuring him the drug isn’t addictive. The series was a personal project for Keaton, as his own nephew died of a fentanyl overdose.
“There’s an argument to be made – it’s a legitimate argument, look how nice everyone looks – that a night like tonight is self-serving, narcissistic. It’s a legitimate argument to be made,” Keaton said as he accepted his award. “That said, I will tell you, I am so fortunate. We could spend a week here talking about how fortunate I am, and I know you would all love that. Everyone wants to hear Mike ramble on for a couple of hours. I’m so blessed to do what I do, and so fortunate. I have a job where I can be part of a production, like Dopesick, that actually can spawn thought, conversation, actual change. Who gets to have that job? How fortunate am I that good can come from something I do just because I wanted to become an actor?”
He added: “There’s massive inequity in the world. In Dopesick, when you talk about addiction, the way to heal the problem is to accept that you have a problem. Not our country – the entire world. Economically, racially, socially, financially. There’s massive inequity in the world. There just is. There’s fair, and there’s unfair. There’s not a lot of room in between. I can feel right now the rolling thunder of eye-rolling across people saying things to me like, ‘Shut up and dribble. Shut up and act.’ The acting, I’ll quit. The shutting up, not so much. I am blessed to be able to do something that might improve someone’s life.”
He concluded his speech by dedicating the win to his nephew and sister: “Given the subject matter, this is for my nephew, Michael, and my sister, Pam. I lost my nephew Michael to drugs, and it hurts. To my sister Pam, thanks.”