Michelle Williams took home the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie for her role in “Fosse/Verdon,” bringing her friend Busy Philipps to tears and the audience to their feet with an impassioned acceptance speech about gender equality.
The actor, who plays Broadway legend Gwen Verdon in the FX series, talked about how accommodating the showrunners were to her needs on set when it came to needing more voice lessons, dance lessons or better fake teeth.
“All of these things, they require effort and they cost more money, but my bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honour Gwen Verdon,” said Williams.
The 39-year-old also thanked the studio for paying her equally and implored those creating content to empower women, particularly women of colour.
“They understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value, and then where do they put that value? They put it into their work,” said Williams.
“So, the next time a woman ― and especially a woman of colour, because she stands to make fifty-two cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart ― tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her. Believe her, because one day she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.”
The actor dedicated the award to her daughter, Matilda, and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Throughout her speech, the screen cut to Philipps, Williams’ longtime friend, who was tearing up at Williams’ words.
The former host of “Busy Tonight” was not the only one moved by Williams’ speech. Twitter was abuzz with praise: