Friday, February 22, 2013

Top Five Oscar Acceptance Speeches

I am a HUGE Oscar fan, no not Oscar the Grouch (although he is appealing in his grumpy ways), but the Academy Award "Oscar." It's the granddaddy of award shows because all the biggest stars come out for it and all the best fashion (and some bad fashion) is on display. 

One of the best parts of watching the Oscars is seeing what people will say when they win an award and unfortunately a good 95% of them are your typical speeches - you know the ones thanking their agent, their co-stars, even God (who is probably, next to Oprah, the most mentioned person [or divine being?] in people's speeches). 

But once in a blue moon, there will be memorable ones to me (and I say me, because I'm only going to talk about speeches that I have seen in my lifetime and remain in my waning memory).  So I present to you my Top Five Oscar Acceptance Speeches:

Winner:  Anna Paquin
Award:   Best Supporting Actress 
Movie:    The Piano (1993)

Anna Paquin

Most of us now know the adult Anna Paquin as Sookie on True Blood, but I'm old enough to remember her as that cute kid in The Piano. She was truly a great child actor that deserved her award. Her speech was not cloying, it was what a child would sound like if they won an award - gasping and giggling before she was able to get her words out. Plus she had the awesome bejeweled purple beret that I still remember to this day. 

Watch here.

Winner:  Jack Palance
Award:    Best Supporting Actor
Movie:     City Slickers (1991)

Jack Palance

One of the best parts of the movie City Slickers was Jack Palance. His "I crap bigger than you" line is still one of the best lines in movie history and only Jack Palance could say it and you believe him. So when Mr. Palance won his first Oscar for that role, it was wholly deserved. But his speech is like what your crazy old grandpa would say and do to show he still has it (although l was afraid he would croak on stage doing it!). Most Oscar winners will just stand at the mike and say their speech, Jack Palance walks the walk or more like one-armed push-ups.

Watch here

Winner:  Joe Pesci
Award:    Best Supporting Actor
Movie:     Goodfellas (1990)

Joe Pesci

We all know Joe Pesci as a rat-a-tat actor - always talking (check out his Lethal Weapon movies), but his Oscar speech was all of six words...yes six. So those of us who cannot stand long winded speeches (I'm looking at you Anne Hathaway. Watch this Joe Pesci speech when you win this Sunday night and get some pointers), Mr. Pesci's short speech should be up your alley.

Watch here.

Winner:  Adrien Brody
Award:   Best Actor
Movie:    The Pianist (2002)

Adrien Brody

Adrien Brody became the youngest Best Actor winner at 29 when he won the Oscar. Like any young man - who can be rather impulsive - when you are on stage with one of the most beautiful actresses in history what do you do? Well, you give her a big, fat, kiss in front of millions of people watching. Was it kind of creepy? There are those who would say so, but to me it was an impromptu moment for a person who may never have that opportunity again (if Brad Pitt was on stage I would do the same, although Angelina Jolie kind of scares me, so maybe not). 

Watch here

Winner:  Cuba Gooding Jr.
Award:    Best Supporting Actor
Movie:     Jerry Maguire (1996)

Cuba Gooding Jr

One of my favorite movies is Jerry Maguire (it's one of the few Tom Cruise movies that I didn't mind that Tom Cruise acted like Tom Cruise) because of one Cuba Gooding Jr. He was Mr. Serious in Boyz In the Hood, so when he played Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire with so much humor, wit, cockiness and heart it was a welcome surprise. It's almost a tragedy that he followed that movie with Snow Dogs and Boat Trip, but for one brief shining moment he made us all cheer for him when he won that Oscar. It's one of the few speeches that I enjoyed from the beginning to the end. You usually welcome the Orchestra cutting off someone's long winded speeches, but Cuba's interruption of the Orchestra was done with such enthusiasm that it got most people in the audience to give him a standing ovation.  Well done, Mr. Gooding Jr. Well done.

Watch here.

I'm hoping that this year's Oscars will give me some memorable Oscar speeches to add to my collective memory and if not, I hope one day they give an Oscar to Robert Downey Jr., because I bet good money that his speech will be the tops.


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    1. i don't remember which filmmaker said this but i vividly remember exactly what she said,"You know that you achieved higher status when your Oscar dress costs more than your film!" - this is the top of my list!

    2. I agree with that quote! Some of their shoes cost more than their film.

  2. My favorite is Jack Palance! Classic! Last night's Academy Awards didn't have that many memorable speeches but Daniel Day-Lewis had a great speech...he's such a well-spoken guy!

    1. I didn't find any speeches this Oscar year that would unseat any of my top five noted above, but I agree that DDL's speech was humorous and gracious at the same time. He is a class act. Jun-Jun and I noted that the 3rd producer of Argo (other than Clooney and Affleck) was "banana nose" from that old Chad Lowe sitcom "Spencer"!


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