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- This is such a big deal, and my life is so simple. There are very few things — there's love, and work, and family. And I'd like to thank all my families, all the tribes that I come from and, most importantly, my mother Brandy who taught me that all my finger paintings were Picasso's and that I didn't have to be afraid. And, mostly, that cruelty might be very human, and it might be very cultural, but it's not acceptable.
- Oscar Acceptance Speech, 1989 Academy Awards, Best Actress in a Leading Role, The Accused.
- I'd like to dedicate this award to all the women before me that never had the chances that I've had, the survivors, the pioneers and the outcasts. My blood, my tradition. And I'd like to thank all the people in this industry who've respected my choices and have not been afraid of the power and dignity that that entitled me to.
- Oscar Acceptance Speech, 1992 Academy Awards, Best Actress in a Leading Role, The Silence of the Lambs.
- Normal is not something to aspire to, it is something to get away from.
- As quoted in Diamonds, Pearls & Stones : Jewels of Wisdom for Young Women from Extraordinary Women of the World (2004) edited by Jennifer Read Hawthorne and Barbara Warren Holden, p. 6
- I cannot believe in God when there is no scientific evidence for the existence of a supreme being and creator.
- As quoted in Calgary Sun (10 July 2007)