Academy Awards acceptance speeches are some of the most memorable moments in Hollywood history. After all the excitement settles, what we remember most are the lines that defined those speeches. Whether we’re quoting them in our own lives or debating over whether they went too far, we never forget. Here are some of the best.
5. Micheal Moore, Best Documentary (2003): “Bowling For Columbine”
“Shame on you, Mr. Bush!”
The Oscars are meant to be an apolitical event, but on the heels of the invasion of Iraq, Moore used his time on stage to launch into a criticism against the president and the war. It was a huge subject of debate in the months afterward and this line was the source of a lot of controversy.
4. Julia Roberts, Best Actress (2001): “Erin Brockovich ”
“I love it up here!”
When accepting her award, Julia Roberts spent a lot of time fretting over the fact that her time on the stage would eventually end. As she says to the head of the band right at the start of her speech, “I might never be up here again.” Though she’d had a long career, Roberts had never won an Oscar and what we remember most is how much she enjoyed her moment in the sun.
3. Marlon Brando, Best Actor (1973): “The Godfather ”
“He very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award.”
It’s such a bizarre moment that you have to see it to believe it. Instead of Marlon Brando, a very uncomfortable native woman takes the stage with a 15-page speech. She informs the audience that Brando is refusing his award in protest of the mistreatment of Native Americans. To date, it’s one of only three times anyone has ever refused an Oscar.
2. Sally Field, Best Actress (1985): “Places in the Heart”
“You like me!”
For years afterward, the standard parody of an Oscar acceptance speech included some reference to Sally Field’s emotional display. High-energy acceptance speeches are fun to watch and very few were as expressive as this one.
1. James Cameron, Best Director (1998): “Titanic”
“I’m the king of the world!”
“Titanic” is one of the most successful films of all time and this speech is one of the most famous. Some people saw it as arrogant, but really, Cameron’s sentiment sums up what it must be like to take the stage in honor of your achievements with the whole world watching.