The 63-year-old actor took home the award for Best Actor in a Play for his acclaimed performance as fed-up TV journalist Howard Beale in the Broadway production of “Network”, and Cranston used his platform for good.
Cranston kicked things off with a laugh as he took the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, joking, “Finally, a straight, old, white man gets a break!”
Before getting to the heart of his speech, Cranston also thanked the many people, cast and crew, who worked with him on the popular production, and shared a special thanks to his wife, Robin Dearden.
“To my lovely wife, Robin, who always wanted me and encouraged me to go be mad as hell every night, but just don’t bring it home.”
Turning his sights on the role itself, and what he learned playing the iconic character, Cranston got remarkably more solemn.
“Howard Beale is a fictitious TV newsman, who found his way into the line of fire because of his pursuit of the truth,” Cranston shared, his voice shaking slightly. “And I would like to dedicate this to all the real journalists around the world both in the press, in print media, and in broadcast media, who actually are in the line of fire with their pursuit of the truth.”
“The media is not the enemy of the people,” Cranston added, evoking a message that has repeatedly been espoused by President Donald Trump over the last three years. “Demagoguery is the enemy of the people!”
ET’s Keltie Knight spoke with Cranston backstage, and asked if the star had anything more to add to his speech, or if he’d forgotten to mention anyone he’d wanted to thank. Cranston admitted that he didn’t even remember all of what he’d said, but felt confident with the speech because he’d remembered to thank his wife.
“If you mention your wife, you’re good,” Cranston explained. “It doesn’t matter who you work with, it doesn’t matter about the writer, the director, it’s all about the spouse.”
Cranston also reflected on how James Corden did as the host of the night’s festivities, which included a musical monologue that Cranston played a small but hilarious part of.
“He is perfect for this,” Cranston said. “He loves to perform, he’s got a great spirit, he’s funny. But he can be sincere. He’s just, like, the perfect host for this.”
Check out the video below for more from this year’s Tony Awards.
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