Former Vice President Joe Biden’s speech accepting the Democratic party’s nomination for president was met with wide praise from across the entertainment industry.
“Nothing ‘sleepy’ about that speech,” said writer-producer Damon Lindelof (“Watchmen”) to Variety. Lindelof was a vocal supporter for Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the primary election, but he said that Biden’s speech left him convinced that Biden is “the only and best candidate for this moment.”
“I felt passion and authenticity and a desire to heal,” he continued. Lindelof praised Biden’s evocation of the daughter of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers helped to spark nationwide protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the segment preceding Biden’s speech with 13-year-old Brayden Harrington, who said he struggled with a stutter until Biden shared his methods for overcoming his own stutter.
“When Joe reminded us in his speech of his own struggle [with stuttering], I felt it in my chest,” said Lindelof. “Julia Louis-Dreyfus said she’s all in. I am too.”
For Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List, Biden’s speech was “a perfect capstone” the overall production of the four-day convention, held virtually across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted by speeches from Biden’s wife Jill, Barack and Michelle Obama, and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
“I have to admit it’s entirely unexpected for me because I definitely underestimated him as an orator,” said Franklin, also a vocal support for Sen. Warren in the primary. “It was an excellent speech, incredibly well delivered.”
Franklin felt the entire DNC was an impressive feat. “My compliments to everyone involved in planning the convention’s production from every editorial assistant to Biden himself,” he said. “Could easily have been a disaster, and they created an entirely new paradigm for what conventions will look like from here on out.”
Maikiko James, director of programs at Women in Film, the nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting female filmmakers, appreciated the production values, and thought Biden’s speech was “compelling and heartfelt.” But her takeaway from the whole convention went far beyond speeches.
“We are at so much more than an election,” she said. “We have to be doing so much more than voting at this moment. For me, it’s really about how do we take an opportunity to transform our entire system. Because the polls are truly just the beginning of the work of a long political process that we all have to be engaged in now.”
Many other industry figures took to Twitter to react to Biden’s speech. Here are some highlights:
Actor Octavia Spencer: “This speech and leadership is what America needs right now.”
Singer and actor Bette Midler, over multiple tweets: “FANTASTIC SPEECH BY BIDEN!! I BELIEVE WE WILL SURVIVE THIS ERA!! I BELIEVE WE WILL! F— YOU, TRUMP! You’ll never get close to that speech, you miserable toad!”
Actor Debra Messing: “This is a powerful Presidential address. I can’t WAIT until Joe Biden is our President.”
Actor Rosie Perez: “Wow! So moved and inspired by this amazing speech! ‘This is our moment! This is our mission!’ Let’s go!”
Actor Jamie Lee Curtis: “The speech of his life. The speech of our lives. A defining moment. A shift towards decency, honor, faith, strength, compassion, and real love. Now WE THE PEOPLE need to carry him there.”
Actor Mandy Moore: “Such an effective and powerful speech from Joe Biden. I’ve forgotten what decency and cogent and competent leadership looks like. Can’t wait for November 3rd!”
Actor Alyssa Milano:
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) August 21, 2020
Actor and comedian Billy Eichner: “It’s moving to see someone continuing to evolve and to listen — and indeed peaking — at 77.”
Director Liz Garbus (“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” “What Happened, Miss Simone”): “Kinda crushed it right?”
Actor Rory O’Malley (“The Book of Mormon,” “Hamilton”) over multiple tweets: “That was incredible Joe Biden!!! Let’s do everything we can for the next 75 days to get him and Kamala Harris to the White House!!!! Tonight felt like the first time we could grieve as a nation during this pandemic. What a relief it is to hear from a leader who has empathy for Americans grieving for their loved ones, Americans who lost their jobs and Americans who have suffered from racial injustice.”
Podcaster and former Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau: “This is an incredibly strong, powerful, and passionate delivery from Joe Biden, and it makes the Trump people look like absolute fools for setting expectations for him as low as they have.”
Producer and executive Aditya Sood (“The Martian”): “One of the most patriotic speeches I’ve seen a candidate give.”
Composer Benj Pasek (“La La Land”) over multiple tweets: “The image that Trump has tried to paint of Joe Biden being aloof and feeble is being eviscerated with every word of this well-delivered, empathetic and powerful speech. That Biden speech was a game changer. For the first time this political season, I don’t feel inspired to only vote against Trump or because of Harris joining the ticket. Joe genuinely stepped into role of president tonight.”
And finally, actor Mark Hamill:
"Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not of the darkness."- Joe Biden
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 21, 2020