Ryan Reynolds has been honoured with the prestigious Humanitarian Award at the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards, and he’s used his moment in the spotlight to highlight those who are working tirelessly every day to make the world a little better, out of the spotlight.
The award, which recognises “an extraordinary humanitarian contribution and acts of compassion”, was presented to him by a young boy named Everett Ho, who thanked Ryan for all he has done to support him and all the young patients at SickKids Children’s Hospital in Toronto. Visibly moved by Everett’s words, the beloved Hollywood star accepted the award and began his speech as he always does – by acknowledging the love of his life, Blake Lively:
“There’s nothing I do in this space at all that doesn’t involve my wife Blake, so she shares this honour with me.”
The famous couple has been heavily involved in philanthropic work throughout their careers, from those ugly Christmas sweater campaigns (oh yeah, you know the one) to raise funds for SickKids, to making major donations to food banks, baby nutrition programs, youth shelters and clean water initiatives.
“The main reason I’m standing here accepting a humanitarian award is because of how selfish I am,” Ryan said on stage. “If you think I’m a humanitarian, it’s in large part due to so many people who carry the burden of this work every single day, far away from the limelight. People who, like me, understand that my platform can be spent, literally and figuratively. And for whatever it’s worth, the more that I spend in this space, the more that is returned to me, the more that comes back to me. I don’t necessarily mean in money. I mean in insight. I mean in friendships, I mean in new ways of looking at the world.”
Ryan took a moment to highlight the tireless efforts of those at SickKids Toronto, Water First (a charity addressing the water challenges Indigenous communities face across Canada), Food Banks Canada and Covenant House in both Vancouver and Toronto.
“I’m certainly not here to tell anyone how to live their life but I will say that for me, filtering my perspective and my energy through a prism of empathy and service has made my life better. It’s made it fuller. It’s made it purposeful,” he continued before joking that this path has helped guide him away from “being chewed up and shot out the asshole of show business!”
Ryan added that through philanthropy, he’s been “exposed to some of the world’s most gracious and interesting and diverse people” and those who have “reshaped” him as a person:
“People who’ve helped me and forgiven me and used their lived experience to teach me, even when that work was for me to do, not them.”
He ended his speech by thanking his mum Tammy “who has lead with compassion her entire life” and his late dad, James as well as his “other parents” – all of Canada!
Check out his full, heartfelt speech below:
View this post on Instagram
(Feature Image Credit: Jeremy Chan/Getty Images)