The most interesting aspect of any award ceremony is the acceptance speech. Sometimes the acceptance speech becomes far too political, like what Sean Penn did when he went left-liberal and included the communists along with gays in hisÂ speech, sometimes the winners become far too emotional like Gwyneth Paltrow and Halle Berry, sometimes it brings out the gymnast in them like Roberto Benini, sometimes they are humorous; but thankfully most of the times the winners remain calm and composed. I am compiling a small list of some of the most memorable and best winning acceptance speeches.
Resul Pookutty, Best Sound Mixing-Slumdog Millionaire,2009
I come from a country and a civilization that given the universal word. That word is preceded by silence, followed by more silence. That word is Om. So I dedicate this award to my country.
Thank you, Academy, this is not just a sound award, this is history being handed over to me.
Thank you very much. That makes up for the strip-search.
Julia Roberts, Best Actress, 2000
[with reference to 45 sec time limit]Â I’m so happy, thank you. A girl’s got to have her moment. Everybody tries to get me to shut up. It didn’t work with my parents and it didn’t work now.
Cameron Crowe, Best Original Screenplay, Almost Famous
If they say, ‘I don’t like your movie,’ it’s kind of like saying, ‘I didn’t like your life.’ And then they say, ‘By the way, it was a little too long.’
Kate Winslet, Best Actress, 2009
I’d be lying if I haven’t made a version of this speech before I was 8 years old and staring into the bathroom mirror. And this would have been a shampoo bottle. Well, it’s not a shampoo bottle now.
Valli O’Reilly, Best Make-up, Lemony Snickets
I’d like to formally apologize to all the actors for making them look so unfortunate. But it was worth it, wasn’t it?
Cate Blanchett, Best Supporting Actress, The Aviator
I don’t have a sense of entitlement or that I deserve this. You’d be surprised at the lack of competition between nominees – I think a lot of it’s imposed from the outside. Can I have my champagne now?
Pedro Almodovar, Best Foreign Film, All About My Mother
Right now I don’t know if I have dreamt about this or not. But when you are in the ocean you must swim. Being on the race for the Oscars, logically I want to win.
Losing would suck and winning would be really scary. And it’s really, really scary.
Hilary Swank, Best Actress, Million Dollar Baby
The truth is, after Boys Don’t Cry, I realized how few and far between the great roles are. I am beyond thankful for finding Million Dollar Baby.
Morgan Freeman, Best Supporting Actor, Million Dollar Baby
Getting a standing ovation was kind of humbling that so many people are so happy that I have been named for this award. A lot of people say you’re due – maybe you are, maybe you aren’t – it’s an accolade.
Kim Basinger, 1998
I just want to thank everybody I’ve ever met in my entire life.
Steven Spielberg, Best Director, Saving Private Ryan
Am I allowed to say I really wanted this? This is fantastic.
Angelina Jolie, Best Supporting Actress, Girl, Interrupted
I’m in shock. And I’m so in love with my brother right now, he just held me and said he loved me.
You know, the Oscar I was awarded for The Untouchables is a wonderful thing, but I haven’t changed and I can honestly say that I’d rather have won the US Open Golf Tournament
I guess this proves there are as many nuts in the Academy as anywhere else.
Grace Kelly, 1954
This is one night I wish I smoked and drank.
Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting
It’s like winning the golden dude. A great honor. Before I didnâ€™t have the chance of the Jamaican Bobsled team of winning now I do. [After thanking everyone else]Most of all, I want to thank my father, up there, the man who when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said, ‘Wonderful. Just have a back-up profession like welding‘
James Cameron, Best Director, Titanic
I am the king of the world!
Penelope Cruz, Best Supporting Actress,2009
Has anybody ever fainted here? Because I might be the first one. Thank you so much to the Academy.
Tan Dun, Best Original Score Oscar for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
My music is to dream without boundaries. Tonight, with you, I see boundaries being crossed. As a classic musical composer, I am thrilled to be honored here.
Brad Bird, Best Animated Feature, The Incredibles
Animation is about creating the illusion of life. And you can’t create it if you don’t have one.
George Clooney, Best Supporting Actor,Â 2006
I didn’t really work on anything, because I thought there were four others who were going to win, so… strange.
Hilary Swank, Best Actress, Million Dollar Baby
I don’t know what I did in this life to deserve all of this. I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.
Louise Fletcher, 1976
I’d like to thank Jack Nicholson for making being in a mental institution like being in a mental institution. I loved being hated by you.
Bob Dylan, Best Original Song for Things Have Changed, Wonder Boys
I want to thank the members of the Academy who were bold enough to give me this award for this song which, obviously, is a song that doesn’t pussyfoot around or turn a blind eye to human nature. God bless you all with peace, tranquility and good will. Thanks.
Steven Soderbergh, Best Director Academy Award, Traffic
Suddenly, going to work tomorrow doesn’t seem like such a good idea.
Maurice Jarre, Best Score, Passage to India, 1985
I was lucky Mozart was not eligible this year.
Jessica Yu, Best Short Subject Documentary, 1997 Academy Awards
What a thrill. You know you’ve entered new territory when you realize that your outfit cost more than your film.
Michael Caine, Best Supporting Actor, The Cider House Rules
I was watching all the others [nominees] and thinking back when I saw all the performancesâ€¦ thinking how the Academy has changed the phrase from, ‘And the winner is’ to ‘the Oscar goes to.’
My deepest thanks to the members of the Academy for whacking me with the hansomest bludgeon in town
Rick Baker, Best make-up artist, How the Grinch Stole the Christmas
I learned on my own face, that’s why I look like this.
Steve Box, Best Animated Feature Film,Â 2006
Somebody once said if you make a bad film, you make it alone. If you make a great film, everybody made it with you.
Richard Attenborough, Gandhi, 1983
Gandhi simply asked that we should examine the criteria by which we judge the manner of solving our problems. That surely in the 20th century, we human beings, searching for our human dignity, could find other ways of ultimately solving our problems than blowing the other man’s head off. He begged us to reexamine that criterion.
Cate Blanchett, Best Supporting Actress, The Aviator
Thank you to Martin Scorsese. I hope my son will marry your daughter.
John Dykstra, Best Visual Effects, Spider-Man 2
Boy, am I glad there wasn’t a fourth episode of Lord of the Rings.
I’d rather make the cut in the Crosby than win another Oscar.
Cate Blanchett, Best Supporting Actress
Thank you to the Academy, who know Katharine Hepburn so well and are so intimately acquainted with her work. This is an indescribable surprise.
[while referring to black actors] It’s always good to see some color in the room that doesn’t have mops.
Reese Witherspoon, Best Actress, 2006
Oh my goodness! I never thought I would be up here in my whole life.
Dianne West,Â Best Supporting Actress,Â Hannah and Her Sisters
Gee!, this isn’t like I imagined it would be in the bathtub.
Sally Field, 1985
I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!
Denise Robert,Â Best Foreign Language Film
We’re so thankful that The Lord of The Rings did not qualify in this category
Dustin Hoffman, 1980
[while looking at the statue] He has no genitalia and he’s holding a sword. I’d like to thank my parents for not practicing birth control.Â I’m up here with mixed feelings. I’ve been critical of the Academy … and for reason. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to be able to work. I’m greatly honored for being chosen by the producer Stanley Joffe and the director Bob Benton, and to have worked in a family with them. And with Meryl, and with Justin, who if he loses again, we’ll have to give him a lifetime achievement award. And to Jane Alexander, and to Jerry Greenberg, and to Nestor, and to the crew on the film, who was part of that family. And to the crews, and to the directors, like Bob Fosse, and Mike Nichols, and John Schlesinger, that I have worked with before. We are laughed at when we are up here sometimes, for thanking, but when you work on a film, you discover that there are people who are giving that artistic part of themself that goes beyond a paycheck. And they are never up here, and many of them are not members of the Academy, and we never hear of them. But this Oscar is a symbol, I think. And it is given for appreciation from those people who we never see. They are a part of our life. I refuse to believe that I beat Jack Lemmon, that I beat Al Pacino, that I beat Peter Sellers. I refuse to believe that Robert Duvall lost. We are a part of an artistic family. There are 60,000 actors in this Academy, pardon me, in the Screen Actors Guild, and probably 100,000 in Equity. And most actors don’t work, and a few of us are so lucky to have a chance to work with writing and to work with directing. Because when you’re a broke actor, you can’t write, you can’t paint … you have to practice accents while you’re driving a taxi cab. And to that artistic family that strives for excellence, none of you have ever lost. And I am proud to share this with you, and I thank you.
AR Rahman, Best Original Score – Slumdog Millionaire, 2009 Before coming I was excited and terrified. The last I felt like that was doing my marriage… uummm… there is this dialogue from a Hindi film called mere pass ma hai …which means I have nothing but I have my mother…so motherâ€™s here… her blessings are there with me.
By the way, I had done aÂ small write-up on the Oscar winners from India, just in case you are interested.
This post was first published on PFC