British actor Eddie Redmayne paid homage to patients battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) during his Oscar speech after winning the Academy Award for best actor Feb. 22 (see video).
Redmayne delivered a transcendent performance as physicist Stephen Hawking in the Oscar-nominated film, “The Theory of Everything,” in which he chronicled Hawking’s lifelong struggle with ALS.
Eddie, 33, won over the audience with his charm, modesty and gratitude after winning his first Oscar. “I am fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man,” said Redmayne.
“Wow! This Oscar belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS. It belongs to one exceptional family: Stephen, Jane, Jonathan and the Hawking children, and I will be its custodian.”
Stephen Hawking’s Touching Facebook Message
Eddie expressed regret that Hawking was not well enough to fly out to the Oscars. ”Stephen has been told by doctors he is not well enough to fly here,” said Anthony McCarten, scriptwriter for “The Theory of Everything.”
Hawking, 73, congratulated Redmayne on Facebook, writing, “Congratulations to Eddie Redmayne for winning an #Oscar for playing me in ‘The Theory of Everything’ movie. Well done Eddie, I’m very proud of you.”
Redmayne was stunned by his Academy Award win after beating out Bradley Cooper, who was nominated for “American Sniper” and Michael Keaton, who has received accolades for “Birdman.”
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive muscle paralysis and early death. There is no cure.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Raised $100 Million
In August 2014, celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, LeBron James and Tom Cruise participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, where participants either dumped ice-cold water over their heads or donated $100 to support the ALS Association.
Thanks to star support, the viral social media stunt raised more than $100 million for ALS research in one month, compared to $2.8 million the previous year (without celebrity support)..
One celebrity standout was vegan animal-rights activist Pamela Anderson, who refused the ice bucket challenge because of the animal testing that’s done for ALS research. Anderson issued her own challenge to the ALS, asking them to stop cruel animal laboratory experiments.
“Sorry, I can’t bring myself to do your Ice bucket challenge,” said Pam. “I’d challenge ALS to stop animal testing. Recent experiments funded by the ALS Association, mice had holes drilled into their skulls, were inflicted with crippling illnesses, and were forced to run on an inclined treadmill until they collapsed from exhaustion. What is the result of these experiments (other than a lot of suffering)?”