Just like Forrest Gump’s momma said, listening to an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards can be like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes we’re entertained. We laugh, we cry. We swoon when the winners thank their loving spouse or mom, or even Jesus, as if he’s watching TV at that moment. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s a train wreck. And that’s fun to watch too. Here are five of Oscar’s most memorable acceptance speeches, from the touching to the, well, touched.
Sally Field, 1985
You like, me, you really like me! That’s the line from Sally Field’s acceptance speech that we all seem to remember. But, unfortunately, we’re all misquoting the infamous line from Sally’s 1985 acceptance speech for Places in the Heart. What the star actually said was, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” Yes, Sally, we did then and we still do now.
Cuba Gooding, Jr., 1997
You couldn’t help but feel happy for Cuba Gooding as he accepted his award for Best Supporting Actor in 1997. His role in Jerry Maguire was memorable, but so was his ecstatic acceptance speech. “I’m here and I’m happy,” he chuckled. “I love you, I’m going to keep going!” he cried as the music rolled. Top it off with a couple of happy dance moves and you’ve got a winning speech indeed.
James Cameron, 1998
When James Cameron accepted his award for Best Director of Titanic in 1998, he joyfully quoted his own movie, “I’m the king of the world!” Half the viewers smiled but the other half cringed. Some felt Cameron was gloating. But, hey, he won an Oscar. Aren’t you supposed to gloat?
Jack Palance, 1992
Okay, so maybe Jack Palance’s acceptance speech for his supporting role in City Slickers wasn’t memorable because of what he said. It was what he did. What? You don’t recall him doing one-handed push-ups onstage before accepting his award? Now that’s what I call memorable!
Tom Hanks, 1993
This is probably one of the most poignant speeches given at the Oscars. As Tom Hanks accepted his award for Best Actor in Philadelphia, he also brought attention to the AIDS crisis and sincerely addressed the subject of gay rights. And for that, Tom, we salute you.
Related articles by Deborah Zelasny:
Golden Globes Quick Trivia
Golden Globes Most Memorable Moments
Best of the Grammy Awards
The Grammy Awards Top 5 Performance Collaborations