Casey Affleck delivered a very revealing acceptance speech about how his past has shaped his career

Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams have been busy actors of late promoting their movie MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. They have ploughed through the awards season promotion trail enthusiastically whilst heading quickly towards the Oscars later this month.

On Sunday, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (which Affleck happily declared as their final festival promoting the film unless there are any festivals on the moon!) presented the 2017 Cinema Vanguard Award — created in recognition of “actors who have forged their own path taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film” — to both Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, who were celebrated for their roles in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. The duo both gave very revealing and interesting acceptance speeches, which are a must-see in the video player above.

The actors were introduced onto the stage by MANCHESTER BY THE SEA director, Kenneth Lonergan, (which starts at 12:29 in the video player above) who revealed a few interesting things about his leading cast members, There are a couple of things you might not be able to tell about Casey and Michelle listening to them this evening. You might notice they’re both a little on the quiet side, so you wouldn’t know to look at them that when they go to work they’re capable of this incredible eruption of emotion and specificity and transformation and humour. What you also don’t know is how difficult it is for them each to sit here and watch clips of themselves.”

Casey Affleck

Affleck is no stranger by now to picking up prestigious awards, having won the coveted Golden Globe award for his performance in the aforementioned movie, however at the SBIFF, he shared a rather touching story about how he was first introduced to acting, which was a rare candid moment from the man and also very heartfelt. He shared, “I’ve learned a couple of things. One is that I hate the sound of my own voice. The other is that, astonishingly, this simple thing I should have learned years ago, I finally realised why I act,” he says. “When I was very young my father was a terrible alcoholic, and my mother would take us to these Alateen meetings [support group for young people affected by alcoholics],” he said. “She’d drive us across town to a church and we’d sit in this room with other kids we didn’t know, and the people who were running it would walk us through these exercises basically reenacting what was happening at home. So you’d watch these other kids behaving like their drunk mom or dad, and yelling and throwing things and hitting them and so forth and then you’d get up and do your thing. I was 9 years old. That was the first acting I ever did.”

Casey Affleck

He continued, “It was therapy, but it was also drama. It was drama and it was therapy,” he continued. “Acting for me has sort of been that ever since, taking the things from your life and putting them to use in some way. I think the reason I’ve been an actor is that my mother took me to those meetings. Thank god for her. And thank god I’ve had this great privilege to spend my life doing that thing,” he says. Later, he adds, “For me it’s necessary and acting has been a lifeline.”

That was quite a touching and revealing revelation from Affleck and he has shown how he has turned a difficult time in his past into something so much more positive, especially as he is now Oscar-nominated for his performance in Kenneth Lonergan’s emotional drama (for those who haven’t seen it, it is definitely a film which will bring the tears and emotions) alongside his co-star Michelle Williams. Other nominations include Best Supporting Actor for Lucas Hedges, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Lonergan, and Best Picture.

Casey Affleck


Michelle Williams also shared her own story, which was a bit more lighthearted discussing her daughter who will now be so pleased because she has finally won an award – good on you, Michelle! 

Have you seen MANCHESTER BY THE SEA yet? What did you think of the movie? Who do you think will be the big winners at the Oscars? Have your say in the comment box below.

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