- [on wearing prosthetic eyelids which made him blind in Ray (2004)] After six hours of being blind, you lose the sense of how a person is physically. It was amazing to hear the little buzzing voices all around you.
- [2005 Academy Awards acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Ray (2004)] I guess we got to do it again. "Oh, ah!" Yeah, you're ready. That's for Ray Charles. Give it up for Ray Charles and his beautiful legacy. And thank you, Ray Charles, for living.
I got so many people to thank tonight. First I want to start it out with Taylor Hackford. Taylor, you took a chance, man. I mean that love for Ray Charles was deep, down in the earth. It's cracked open. And it's spilling. And everybody's drowning in this love. I thank you for taking a chance on this film. And thank you for waiting 15 years to get me to do it. I want to thank you. I want to thank Crusader. I want to thank my agents. I want to thank Rick Kurtzman. I want to thank Kim Hodges. I want to thank Steve Smooke. I want to thank my managers, Jaime King [Jaime Rucker King] and Marcus King. Let's live this African-American dream. It's beautiful. I'm glad I'm with you. I ain't never leaving you. I'm glad I'm with you.
I got a chance to meet a whole lot of people, experiencing this. And other people I want to thank, I want to thank my sister. Four feet, eleven inches of nothing but pure love. I want to thank my daughter for telling me just before I got up here, "If you don't win, dad, you're still good.
I'm just ... I see Oprah [Oprah Winfrey] and I see Halle [Halle Berry]. I just want to say your names. I want to talk to you later. Both of you. Because Oprah got -- allowed me to meet somebody by the name of Sidney Poitier. And, yes, Sidney Poitier said, "I saw you once. And I looked in your eyes and there was a connection." And he says, "I give to you responsibility." So, I'm taking that responsibility tonight. And, thank you, Sidney.
This is probably going to be the toughest part of this speech. My daughter shares my grandmother's name, "Marie." My grandmother's name is Estelle Marie Talley. She's not here tonight. And this is going to be the toughest part. But she was my first acting teacher. She told me to stand up straight. Put your shoulders back. Act like you got some sense.
We would go places. And I would wild out. And she would say, "Act like you've been somewhere." And then when I would act the fool, she would beat me. She would whup me. And she could get an Oscar for the way she whupped me because she was great at it. And after she whipped me, she would talk to me and tell me why she whipped me. She said I want you to be a southern gentleman. She still talks to me now. Only now, she talks to me, in my dreams. And I can't wait to go to sleep tonight because we got a lot to talk about. I love you.
- You know what? I never really factor Hollywood into anything. I'm a black actor, so I can't really control what Hollywood thinks. I gotta go do my thing, and my jokes have got to be funny. Whatever I do has got to be great.
- CCH Pounder taught me one thing. She said, "Characters are like putting on a coat. You put the coat on while you work, you take the coat off after it's over. You need that freshness. I know people who stay in character, and it's the worst thing in the world. You can't go out. They're still in their character and the character residue is too much. I like to go do it, flip it on like a light switch and then flip it off. Then, when we come back in the next morning I flip it back on. That's what keeps things fresh for me.
- I'd like to say I'm R&B's savior. Whether that's the truth or not, I'm definitely going out there with my mic and my shield to declare, "I am here to save R&B." I will have the people saying, "Sire, there is a man at the musical gates saying he is here to save R&B."
- (2005) I'm a real person, and I'm angry. I'm trying to use this celebrity thing to get people some help. AIDS, poverty, racism - I want to be one of the hands that helps stop all that. I'll put it on my shoulders. I'll charge it to my account. I don't look around to see what others are doing. No, I see me. And I feel in my own heart that I'm not doing enough. I want to do more.
- [on creating the name Jamie Foxx when he first started in show business] The way I looked at the whole situation was, if I fail as Jamie Foxx, I'll just change my name and come back as something else.
- (2005) When I was growing up in Terrell, Texas, I felt that it was not where I was supposed to be. I knew that I was meant for a different destination. I think that the minute I was born, there was something inside telling me where I would go, it's like energy-an intangible destiny. And if you have someone to help clear your way ahead, it will take you where you're meant to go.
- I come from Tyler, Texas, where the railroad tracks separated us. On one side it was all black. On the other side it was all white. Whenever there were white people on our side of town, either somebody was going to jail or somebody was coming for the insurance. It's a different flow. So when I got to L.A., I know it sounds funny, but I was like "Man, we free." It was amazing to me what I had been missing.
- (2010, on staying grounded) My homies that are around me never give me that 'star pass'. I've hung out with some stars who are playing basketball and everyone let's them score all the baskets. Shooting pool, they let them make all the shots. My homies don't let me get away with that. Also, I think having that comic gene kind of makes you look at things in a different way. If you take yourself so seriously, eventually you end up one of those people having a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on their lives. You see them drawing the curtains and they don't even realize that they've kind of drifted off somewhere. You have to pay attention to it -- fame and success. When people are saying that you're at the top of the world, it's tough to kind of turn your back on it and say, "Well, let me look at it in a different way." Or you can take advantage of it and really make yourself look bad.
- When a project becomes magic and special it means that at certain points in the script it parallels your story.
- [on riding a galloping horse in Django Unchained (2012)] On the outside, I look like Django, but on the inside I was Little Richard. "Oh no, Jesus! Jesus! Jesus, stop this horse!"
- I faced racism as a kid and I felt like I knew the DNA of the script because I had lived it. I already had pieces of Django inside me and I could bring that to the character. I don't trip on the racial stuff. I get it. I don't trip on the word nigger. I've heard it, it's been said. My life prepared me for this.
- [on working with Quentin Tarantino on Django Unchained (2012)] Quentin took the right steps. He shot it eloquently, and with every take, he stopped to make sure that Kerry Washington and I were doing okay. It was really different because Hollywood is not like that. Hollywood is very much about getting the shot, getting it right, and moving on. Even when we're shooting an incredibly difficult scene and we have to do a few takes, he's just like "That's alright, man. All we need to do is get it right, one time. It'll work." When you have a director like that, it speaks volumes.
- [referring to Sleepless (2017) in a speech at the BET Awards] I can't wait to tell you about that joint Baby Driver (2017)! It's crazy, it's cool, and it ain't a typical film. It brings a thrill ride, so everybody can experience it. And it's good too! It ain't like that last joint I had. I know, it's tough. It's tough when you still gotta promote it. You know it's bad when they don't ask you nothing about the movie like "Man that jacket you was wearing is tight." Yeah, I know it sucked. [June 2017]