By ABC News
Actor Jared Leto took the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role as Rayon, a transgender woman with HIV in “The Dallas Buyers Club,” and in his heartfelt acceptance speech on Sunday night he gave special thanks to his mother.
After thanking host Ellen DeGeneres and acknowledging his fellow nominees, Leto started to tell a story: “In 1971, there was a teenage girl, who was pregnant with her second child, she was a high school dropout and single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children … that girl is my mother and she’s here tonight I just want to say ‘I love you mom, thank you for teaching me to dream,” Leto said.
Watching from her seat in the audience, Leto’s mother, Constance Leto, beamed.
He also thanked his brother, Shannon, whom he called his “best friend,” and spoke about the people who have died of AIDS.
“To all the dreamers out there in the world watching this tonight, we are here … team Matthew, I love you, this is for 36 million people who have lost their life to AIDS,” he said.
Leto, 42, finished by sending a message of support to the people of Ukraine and Venezuela, telling them they were not forgotten in their struggles. Both countries have been rocked by recent political upheaval and the resulting violence.
“The Dallas Buyers Club” earned six Oscar nominations, including one for best picture and best actor for his co-star Matthew McConaughey.
It also won Sunday night for best hair and makeup.