The 10 great Oscar acceptance speeches - GulfToday

The 10 great Oscar acceptance speeches


The Oscars are the year's most important movie awards night. TNS

With just a day to go for the year’s most important movie awards show, there naturally is a lot of excitement and speculation among movie pundits and aficionados.

A celebrated occasion in the yearly calendar of events, the Oscars has many highlights to look forward to, from red carpet looks to musical performances.

Another significant feature of the Academy Awards are acceptance speeches. Ranging from short to long and funny to emotive, awardees have been known to use the platform to unabashedly express themselves.

In case any of this year’s nominees are in need of inspiration, here are 10 great Oscar acceptance speeches from years past.

Shirley MacLaine, 1984 (best actress, Terms of Endearment)

Both funny (“This show has been as long as my career”) and touching (“Films and life are like clay waiting for us to mould it”), MacLaine’s first victory speech after decades in the business was a master class.

Anna Paquin, 1994 (best supporting actress, The Piano)

Paquin, at age 11, was then (and still is) the second-youngest person in Oscar history to win a competitive award for acting, and her speech — once it finally began — was utterly charming.

Tom Hanks, 1995 (best actor, Forrest Gump)

This list could also have included Hanks’ speech the previous year, for Philadelphia; both are eloquent, emotional and artful. There’s a reason why Hanks is so beloved.

Robin Williams, 1998 (best supporting actor, Good Will Hunting)

“This might be the one time I’m speechless,” Williams began, but he quickly recovered with a perfect speech: short, funny and heartfelt.

Michael Caine, 2000 (best supporting actor, The Cider House Rules)

Asking for “a bit of extra time” (he won once before, but didn’t attend), Caine took a gracious moment to praise his four co-nominees, “because I do not feel like being the winner.”

Halle Berry, 2002 (best actress, Monster’s Ball)

Berry’s win made history — the first Black winner for best actress since the academy began the award in 1927 — and her emotional speech beautifully conveyed the meaning of the moment.

Lupita Nyong'o accepts the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role award for 12 Years a Slave. TNS

Daniel Day-Lewis, 2013 (best actor, Lincoln)

Day-Lewis is exceptionally good at the acceptance-speech game; in this one, I particularly like how he handles the traditional shout-out to the spouse. Referring to the many roles he’s played, he notes “my wife Rebecca has lived with some very strange men.”

Lupita Nyong’o, 2014 (best supporting actress, 12 Years a Slave)

Another textbook-perfect speech, delicately honouring the character she played and the artists she worked with, finishing with a moving message: “When I look down at this golden statuette, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

Lonnie Lynn and John Stephens, 2015 (best original song, Glory, from Selma)

The two winners — better known as musicians Common (Lynn) and John Legend (Stephens) — reflected eloquently on the civil rights movement. “We say that Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now,” said Stephens.

Frances McDormand, 2018 (best actress, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

A barn burner of a speech, calling on the industry to recognise women’s stories — but I especially love that she took the time, before starting, to go upstage and shake the hand of the young man handing out the Oscar trophies.

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