The star accepted two awards for Furious 7 – favorite movie and favorite action movie – and choked up during his acceptance speech as he remembered his close friend, and how difficult it was to film the movie after Walker’s death in a 2013 car crash.
“It was a labor of love. My only message to you is you’d be amazed what you can do with love,” he said. “You’d be amazed at how powerful a force that is. When we didn’t want to come back to filming when the tragedy was too heavy, it was the love of everyone combined that saw us through to the end.”
Fighting back tears, Diesel told the audience he wasn’t expecting to be hit with such a wave of feeling as he stepped onstage.
“You know, as I was coming up here, I always do this. I say I’m not going to get emotional about winning these awards, and I was cool when I was sitting in my seat, and then they handed me two awards. One for favorite action movie and one for favorite film. You all thought that this was your favorite film. I think of Dom and Brian and I start to think of Paul,” he said, pausing to collect himself.
He also said the awards are particularly meaningful because they come directly from the people.
“I want to thank the People’s Choice Awards. It’s real people that are voting for these awards. It’s just pure fans saying how much they appreciate our work, and that means the world to me,” he said.
In closing, Diesel surprised the audience as he broke into a heartfelt mini rendition of “See You Again,” which took on special meaning after his comments about Walker.
“I thank you so much and the only thing I can say now, ‘It’s been a long day without you, my friend, and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again,’ ” he crooned.