Art Reflects Life

Humor. Love. Imagination. Inclusivity. The best art taps into our shared experiences and emotions. It moves. It inspires. It entertains. It reflects life.

Inclusion

If we don't watch ourselves, we will repeat history. I think ['Hidden Figures'] is a reminder that humans are in this together. It doesn’t matter your race, color, who you sleep with at night. This movie is a reminder of what made America great in the first place. ...We have to get back to putting our differences aside and believing in all of humanity, not just a certain section.

Taraji P. Henson

CNN interview at "Hidden Figures" press day, 2016

['Moonlight'] is a story that is so beautiful and inspiring. It’s a story that really needs to be told. And it’s a story about communities and characters that are so often ignored.

Naomie Harris

CNN interview at Oscar nominee luncheon, 2017

I feel like there are very few opportunities for women of color to really share the complexity of what it is to be that. And also for women period. I think it's changing for women. If you look at women [nominated in the leading comedy actress Emmy category] -- and the roles that they are playing -- these stories are being told through their eyes, which I think is a testament to what is happening on television. It makes me feel really humbled to be in the category because there is some extraordinary talent happening. But at the same time, if you look at why has there not been a black woman nominated in this category in 30 years, there have not been many roles there to nominate. There are a lot of pieces to this moment that I don't take for granted.

Tracee Ellis Ross

CNN interview, 2016

Recognition

There were these three women, in this case, who made such an impact on our history and our nation and to NASA, specifically, and they needed to be recognized. It was very important work. In a bigger way, there's tons of stories -- one of them being the importance of women and minorities to our science and math [industries]. And even bigger than that, as humans, [the movie shows] how many incredible things we do when we work together and don't make judgments that dis-include people and bring in the best for whatever it is, no matter who they are.

Jim Parsons

"Hidden Figures" press day interview, 2016

Representation

I see acting as more of a conduit for the community and the stories we need to tell. So I made the decision to study drama, to know that there is a craft behind it, so that no matter what, I would always know that I have these building blocks.

Leonardo Nam

Interview with Center for Asian America Media, 2016

Unity

This award from you, who take your craft seriously and earnestly believe, like me, that great acting can change the world, is a call to arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper and, through our art, to battle against fear, self-centeredness and [the] exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture. And through our craft, cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when they feel broken, and afraid and tired, they are not alone.

David Harbour

Accepting the SAG Award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series on behalf of the "Stranger Things" cast, 2017

That basic simple humanity -- that we all share -- is at the heart of all good storytelling.

Laurence Fishburne

CNN interview at "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" press day, 2016

We point fingers at people, we point fingers at [Donald] Trump, he points fingers at people. How are we going to come together and realize that we're on this little dust speck in space, you know? Things are finite here, you know. How are we going to work together to make the most beautiful existence that we can, you know?

Jeff Bridges

CNN interview, 2017

We know that it's going to be up to us, and probably all of you, to keep telling stories that remind us that what unites us is stronger than the forces that seek to divide us.

Taylor Schilling

Accepting the SAG Award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series on behalf of the "Orange is the New Black" cast, 2017

Empowerment

My career is more active now than it was when I was younger. And I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that women are presenting themselves in a different way. We are saying, 'You need to be talking about us. You need to be writing about us. We are interesting. We have interesting stories. We have lives that a lot of people want to know about and see.' We've been proactive and the industry has responded in kind.

Judith Light

CNN interview at "Transparent" press day, 2016

I got asked in one of my first interviews: 'Is Arya a feminist?' I didn't even know what a feminist was… and then someone explained it to me. And I remember thinking, 'Isn't that just like everyone?' And then I realized everyone is not a feminist, unfortunately. But I also feel like we should stop calling feminists 'feminists' and just start calling people who aren't feminist 'sexist' -- and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist.

Maisie Williams

Entertainment Weekly interview, 2016

We are the generation that said, 'Oh, no, no, we're not going away at 30. This is going to change.' 'I'm not going to work there anymore? Ok, I'm going to start my own industry.'

Salma Hayek

Power of Women luncheon speech, 2015

Confidence

I have a big sister called Paige … she gives me a lot of power and she's incredible and has got so much confidence. And when I was younger, I always wanted to be like her. She gave me that confidence.

Millie Bobby Brown

Refinery 29 SAG red carpet live show, 2017

Authenticity

['Orange Is the New Black'] showed me that I can be myself. I literally had no makeup on. I had my natural hair in plaits [and was] in a mumu and I booked this job. And then I booked 'Girls,' and then I booked 'Master of None' and then I booked two independent films -- by being myself.

Danielle Brooks

AOL Build interview, 2016

I think people respect the authenticity which we have for ourselves and the truthfulness in the way we tell our stories.

Anthony Anderson

CNN interview on Emmy nominations morning, 2016

I think John Ridley's voice in 'American Crime' is one where he tells stark, honest truths without commenting whether they're right or wrong. And I think people will always respond to truthful voices.

Felicity Huffman

"Larry King Now" interview, 2016

Love

I think criticism always hits people regardless of how old they are, how far they've come. We all have insecurities and I'm not going to say that I'm totally above it and it doesn't hurt me. It does. But I've learned a little bit about how to brush it off. … That's what I had to train myself to remember: that the people who love and support me are what matter. Their opinions matter.

Ariel Winter

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show," 2016

Inspiration

My mother was -- or is -- the rock in our family. She taught my sister and I that we could do anything and we can go anywhere as far as we can dreams. She was a librarian for 30 years at a time when there were no computers. … She was my biggest role model and my biggest hero.

Courtney B. Vance

Backstage at the Emmy Awards, 2016

Connection

I've traveled the world, and you meet the most interesting people and that really gives you a world view.

Dev Patel

CNN Creators, 2016

People on the streets come up to me and it's different than some of my friends who are movies stars. They feel so connected to you because you are in their homes, hour after hour after hour…We're making television at the end of the day, it's all smoke and mirrors and it's all fake, but it's not because it makes people really feel things that are real.

Samira Wiley

Interview with THR, 2016

Comfort

It's a really beautiful feeling to have created something that -- for whatever people were feeling [after the election] -- they can come to this film as a place to call home for even 110 minutes.

Barry Jenkins

AFI Fest, 2016

Wisdom

It's puzzling. Some days you feel good and some days you say, 'I'm 70.' It's strange. Most of the time I just say, 'Well, I'm not 80 yet' and I leave it at that.

Ed O'Neill

"The Ellen Degeneres Show," 2017

Survival

I had a teacher who used to say, 'When you act, you have to act as if your life depends on it.' And now, I've been given the opportunity to act because people's lives depend on it.

Jeffrey Tambor

Emmys acceptance speech, 2015

Voice

I know that people are feeling especially hopeless, but my family did not go through the Holocaust for me to stand here and say, 'Oh, I guess we're just going to have to go along with it.' Absolutely not. The reason my grandparents got on boats and left their families and the reason my grandmother was orphaned was because they believed that there had to be something better. And there has to be something better than the state people are living in -- and not just refugees. Women and people of color, and people of different socioeconomic status. A lot people are hurting right now for very good reasons and I don't want to shut up about it.

Mayim Bialik

SAG red carpet, 2017

Humanity

People are so unpredictable. You can never understand what their motives are, even when they're explaining what their motives are. There's just so much out of every single person that you meet, every single day, that you don't know about, and which makes them who they really are. People are the best things to act with in the world. And when you get a writer like Kenny [Lonergan], who knows about people, you can create these paths for each one, and then they devolve in front of you, and you get to see what they're made of. You can't ask for anything more.

Kyle Chandler

2017, Esquire interview

Communication

I think that the reason our movie ['Captain Fantastic'] became such a word-of-mouth phenomenon is that it coincided with a time in our country's history where there's a lot of division, a lot of polarization. I think the movie speaks to that indirectly -- all the problems [that arise] when you don't communicate, especially when you don't listen to people whose opinions are very different from yours.

Viggo Mortenson

CNN interview at Oscar nominee luncheon, 2017

Humor

I do think there's something funny about being over-optimistic. With Richard Splett, he's like the only character on 'Veep' that has no angle. He's guileless. He also believes in the power of government [laughs]. He's the only one who's like, 'I'm here to do my duty as a citizen and as civil servant.' There's no cynicism to him. I find that endearing.

Sam Richardson

Interview with LA Times, 2017

When you show up, you're still showing up to do work and to get it done. I love that. I don't think it needs to be all beers. Let's work on the show.

Anna Chlumsky

Interview with Backstage, 2015

Reflection

We're constantly, as human beings, trying to understand why we do what we do, and how we got to wherever we find ourselves today. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to look back and go, 'I can't believe I spent one day with that person, much less two years.' Looking back is a way to sharpen the focus on the things you want to change in your life. I think there's something about nostalgia that really puts a fine point on the here-and-now, and that can be incredibly fascinating and interesting and engaging for the mind.

Sarah Paulson

Interview with The Guardian, 2017

Imagination

I was so grateful to be invited to the party for a while. I just could never imagine as a kid from Cleveland who loves theater more than anything and ensemble work to doing this. I was a theater nerd.

Kathryn Hahn

Business Insider interview, 2017

Equality

They wrote the Equal Rights Amendment in 1927, it didn’t get passed until 1972. It still hasn't been approved by all the states. It's about f------ time, don't you think?

William H. Macy

Interview with TMZ, 2016

Photography:

Miller Mobley


Produced by:

CNN Digital Labs. Megan Thomas, Cullen Daly, Jon Tortora, Jon Reyes, Joe Coleman, Ashley Codianni, Chloe Melas, Sandra Gonzalez, Arielle Sacks, Stephany Cardet, Mesach Rojas.

CNN.com/ENTERTAINMENT

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