Famous Academy Award Speeches

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Oscar night is to ceremonies what Hollywood is to films. The first Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16, 1929 and is held annually until now. About 270 people attended the 15-minute long event which was neither broadcast on radio nor was it televised. The Academy Awards ceremony is the most prominent ceremony currently, and it is televised live in more than 200 countries. The Oscar is an informal expression for the Academy Awards. The Oscar statuette is officially known as ‘The Academy Award of Merit.’ A very special feature of the ceremony is the Oscar statuette. The statuette was modeled after the Mexican film director and actor Milo ‘El-Indio’ Fernandez who was, in the beginning, reluctant to pose nude for the development of the statuette but was convinced to do so later on.

1. Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin was a legend and an icon of the film industry. He was the world’s most recognizable figure of his time. On account of his political ideologies, he left the U.S. under a self-imposed exile and returned after 20 years on the invitation to accept the honorary Academy Award. A clip was shown to portray Charlie Chaplin in retrospective. And when the lights went up and the audience saw Charlie Chaplin standing there on the stage among them, all of them rose and gave him the longest standing ovation in the history of the Academy Awards. He was too moved by the sincere sentiments of the audience and started his speech with ‘Words are too feeble.’ Jack Lemmon came onto the stage and handed over the cane and cap which he wore, and the audience acknowledged it with a second round of applause. Chaplin’s speech is a memorable part of the Academy Award’s acceptance speeches.

2. Vanessa Redgrave CBE

Vanessa Redgrave CBE
Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave CBE, the daughter of Sir Michael Redgrave and Lady Redgrave, was born on January 30, 1937. She is the only British actress to win the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Cannes, Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards and BAFTA fellowship. She became famous after her performance in As You Like It with the Royal Shakespeare’s Company in 1961. Accepting the Best supporting Actress Award for Julia she spoke, ‘My dear colleagues, I thank you very much for this tribute to my work. ‘¦ I salute all of you for having stood firm and dealt a final blow against that period when Nixon and McCarthy launched a worldwide witch-hunt against those who tried to express in their lives ‘¦’

3. Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks, better known as Tom Hanks, is an American actor and producer. As of 2012, his films have grossed over $ 4.2 billion at the U.S. box office. He was honored with the Best Actor Award for Philadelphia in 1994. He said in his acceptance speech, ‘Here’s what I know… I would not be standing here if it weren’t for two very important men in my life, two I haven’t spoken with in a while but I had the pleasure of just the other evening – Mr. Rawley Farnsworth, ‘¦, Mr. John Gilkerson. I mention their names because they are two of the finest, gay Americans, two wonderful men that I had the good fortune to be associated with to fall under their inspiration at such a young age.’

4.  Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie is a world-famous American actress, named by Forbes as the highest-paid Hollywood actress in 2009 and 2011. She is a recipient of an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. Vogue named her the most beautiful woman in 2002. It was quite embarrassing for some of the audience when she brought her brother James Haven to the Oscars and said in the acceptance speech, ”¦Just so in love with my brother right now.’

5. Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman was awarded an Oscar in the 77th Academy Awards as Best Supporting Actor for his supporting role in Million Dollar Baby. He was given a standing ovation and said in his acceptance speech, ‘I want to thank everybody and anybody who ever had anything at all to do with the making of this picture, but I especially want to thank Clint Eastwood for giving me the opportunity to work with him again and to work with Hilary Swank. This was a labor of love. And I thank the Academy. I thank you so very much.’

6. Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts was presented an Oscar in the 73rd Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role in Erin Brockovich. The Oscar was presented by Kevin Spacey on March 25, 2001. During her acceptance speech she spoke to the music conductor Bill Conti, asking him to be patient and not to hurry up because she wanted to avail herself of the opportunity in its fullest and said, ‘Oh, thank you, and thank you ever so much. I’m so happy. Thank you. I have a television, so I’m going to spend some time here to tell you some things. And sir, you’re doing a great job, but you’re so quick with that stick. So why don’t you sit, ’cause I may never be here again.’

7. Thomas Langmann

Thomas Langmann
Thomas Langmann

Thomas Langmann was born in Paris, France on May 24, 1971. He is a French actor and producer best known for producing the film The Artist for which he received an Academy Award as producer in 2012. In his 2012 Oscar acceptance speech, he said, ‘I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. To you members of the Academy, to you, Harvey, I’d like to say very, very important things. I want to say ‘hi’ to my kids, and it’s 6:00 in the morning in Paris. So you should go to bed in 30 seconds.’

8. Michel Hazanavicius

Michel Hazanavicius
Michel Hazanavicius

Michel Hazanavicius was born in Paris, France on March 29, 1967. He is a French actor, film director, and screenwriter best known for his film The Artist for which he won an Academy Award for Best Picture at the 84th Academy Awards. His acceptance speech was full of ‘Thank yous.’ like he spoke ‘Yes, thank you. Thank you very much. I have an Oscar. I forgot my speech. Okay, I am the happiest director in the world right now. Thank you for that. Thank you, the Academy, thank you all of you. I want to thank my beloved producer Thomas Langmann. ‘¦ Thank you for giving it to me. Thank you very much. Thank you.’

9. Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep was born in Summit, New Jersey, California on June 22, 1949. She is regarded an all-time, most-talented American actress. She is the recipient of 2 Emmy awards, 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Cannes Festival Award, 5 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 17 Academy Awards nominations, 26 Golden Globe nominations, and many others. She started her Academy Award acceptance speech with ‘Oh my God. Oh, c’mon. All right. Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you. When they called my name, I’d had this feeling I could hear half of America going ‘oh no’¦oh c’mon’¦why’¦her’¦again?’ But whatever. First I’m going to thank Don because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech, they play him out with the music, and I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives you’ve given me.’

10. Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer was born in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. on May 25, 1970. She is an American actress best known for her performance in the film The Help for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. During her acceptance speech, she extended many thanks to her family saying ‘Oh, thank you! Thank you, Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room. I have to thank my families. My family in Alabama, the state of Alabama’¦ um’¦ my L.A. family, watching at Steven’s or at Gada, my ‘help family’: ‘ªTate, Brunson, Kathryn, Allison Janney’¬, thank you for being in my life. I share this with everybody. Thank you, Steven Spielberg, for changing my life; thank you, Stacey Snider, for changing my life.’

Conclusion:

It is almost impossible for most of the winners to express their sentiments within 45 seconds entirely to the satisfaction of themselves and their fans. The moment of receiving the Oscar statuette and delivering the acceptance speech is a great moment for them, and 45 seconds are only too few for the occasion. The longest Oscar acceptance speech, which prompted the 45-second limit, extending over 5 and one-half minutes, was delivered by Greer Garson in 1942 after winning the Best Actress, and it prompted the maximum 45-second limit.  On the other hand, the shortest, two-worded speeches were made by Alfred Hitchcock and William Holden who were content with just saying ‘Thank You.’

 

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