Shia LaBeouf is profoundly grateful for one of the darkest moments of his adult life.
In the two years since a Georgia police officer put LaBeouf behind bars for public intoxication, the 33-year-old has entered rehab, written a screenplay inspired by his own upbringing, and brought those words to life. And while onstage accepting an award for that new film, "Honey Boy," LaBeouf took a moment to thank the cop who saw him at his worst.
"I want to thank the police officer who arrested me in Georgia, for changing my life," LaBeouf reportedly said onstage at the Hollywood Film Awards on Sunday night, eliciting some laughter from a few people in the audience who didn't immediately realize he was speaking from the heart. He also thanked his therapist and sponsor.
Shia LaBeouf through the years
Shia LaBeouf through the years
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 11: Actor Shia LaBeouf attends the premiere of 'Holes' on April 11, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Getty Images)
Shia LaBeouf during New York Premiere of Disney's 'The Cheetah Girls' at La Guardia High School in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
Shia LaBeouf and Ben Affleck during World Premiere Of 'The Battle Of Shaker Heights' - Arrivals at Universal Citywalk Theatres in Universal City, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Shia LaBeouf during Teen Vogue Celebrates Its First Annual Young Hollywood Issue at Private Residence in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 3007 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Shia Labeouf during an interview with host Jay Leno on September 23, 2005 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Shia LaBeouf (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
Shia LaBeouf during 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS - MARCH 14: Actor Shia LaBeouf autographs for fans at the Paris Las Vegas during 2007 ShoWest, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre owners, March 14, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Getty Images)
Shia LaBeouf during 'Disturbia' Press Conference with Shia LaBeouf at Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)
Shia Labeouf and Kelly Slater during 'Surf's Up' Los Angeles Premiere - Red Carpet at Mann Village Theater in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc for Variety Magazine)
NEW YORK CITY - OCTOBER 08: (L-R) Shia Labeouf and Michael Douglas sighting at Wall Street on October 8, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Peterson/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Ann Curry and Shia Labeouf appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4303 -- Pictured: Actor Shia LaBeouf during an interview on August 21, 2012 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 23: Actor Shia LaBeouf arrives at the premiere of the 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' during the 33d Moscow International Film Festival at Pushkinskiy Theatre on June 23, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Kristina Nikishina/Epsilon/Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 14: (CHINA OUT) Actor Shia LaBeouf attends 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' press conference at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on July 14, 2011 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)
US actor Shia LaBeouf stands on the red carpet prior the screening of 'The company you keep' during the 69th Venice Film Festival on September 6, 2012 at Venice Lido. 'The company you keep' is presented out of competition. AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/GettyImages)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 22: Actor Shia LaBeouf poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Getty Images Portrait Studio at Village at the Lift on January 22, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Shia LaBeouf is seen on March 02, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Executive producer Shia LaBeouf attends the world premiere of 'LoveTrue' during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre 2 on April 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Shia LaBeouf attends a premiere for 'Man Down' during the 72nd Venice Film Festival at on September 6, 2015 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Venturelli/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 15: Actors Shia LaBeouf (L) and Kate Mara take photos with fans at the 'Man Down' premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 15, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 21: Actor Shia LaBeouf attends the Film Independent Live Read of 'Dr. Strangelove' with guest director Mark Romanek at the Bing Theatre at LACMA on January 21, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 07: Shia LaBeouf takes selfies with fans and signs autographs during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by J. Merritt/GC Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 07: Shia LaBeouf attends the 'Borg/McEnroe' premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 7, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by J. Merritt/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: Shia LaBeouf is seen at Los Angeles International Airport on October 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by starzfly/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
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LeBeouf pleaded guilty in the arrest, and addition to paying a fine and completing 100 hours of community service, he was ordered to enroll in anger management counseling and undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation. It was during rehab when he wrote the script for "Honey Boy," which is an autobiographical retelling of his own childhood in the spotlight.
The actor started doing stand-up at 10 years old and was cast at 14 as the star of Disney Channel's "Even Stevens." In his later teen years, he starred in "Transformers," "Disturbia" and other hit films, but substance abuse and other issues would slow his career and contribute to a string of strange and highly-publicized incidents.
LaBeouf plays not himself in the film, but rather the on-screen child's alcoholic and abusive father. Although it's evident that his relationship with his parents has seen its ups and downs, he also thanked his parents Sunday night during his acceptance speech.
In presenting LaBeouf with the screenwriting award, Robert Downey Jr. called the movie "damn near perfect," saying it is "easily the best and bravest film I have seen in years."