Surprise wins, jaw-dropping thank yous, and shocking snubs. Over the years, there have been some Oscar acceptances that just really stand out as the most memorable — though not always for positive reasons.
Five Most Memorable Thank Yous
The Academy Awards were designed to honor performers and behind-the-scenes professionals who make motion pictures come to life. It’s a dignified event, and that’s why the not-so-dignified speech moments are so very memorable.
Melissa Leo: Winning for Best Actress in “The Fighter” in 2011, Melissa Leo shockingly dropped an f-bomb during her Oscar speech. The moment was so unexpected, censors didn’t get a chance to stop her profanity from going out on live TV to East Coast audiences.
Adrien Brody: The 2003 Oscars were memorable not because of Adrien Brody’s speech, but because of what he did before he started it. Upon winning the Best Actor statue for “The Pianist,” Brody stormed the stage, swept presenter Halle Berry in his arms and planted a deep kiss on her before saying his thank yous.
Julia Roberts: A long-anticipated win in 2001 led to one of the most memorable Academy Award speeches in living memory. Three-time nominee Julia Roberts at last won for “Erin Brockovich,” and she decided to make the most of her moment. Roberts told the conductor in the orchestra to “sit because I may never be here again,” as she didn’t want to get musically rushed off the stage.
Marlon Brando: Leo, Brody and Roberts gave audiences memorable speeches because they were so excited with the excitement of the ceremony, but other Oscar winners have not felt such joy. Marlon Brando shocked the Academy in 1973 when he refused to accept his Best Actor award for “The Godfather.” Instead, he sent a Native American activist to read a 15-page speech about racism in Hollywood. The show’s producers would not allow this, of course, so she gave a modified speech that was both applauded and booed by audience members. Roger Moore, who presented the award, kept the award overnight so it could be given to Brando.
Sally Field: The most famously memorable acceptance speech in Oscar history may be Sally Field’s 1984 win. Field won the Best Actress award for “Places in the Heart,” and used the spotlight to talk about her growth as an actress. Her speech included the phrase “You like me. Right now, you like me!” The moment has been parodied and referenced repeatedly ever since (it’s usually misquoted as “you like me! You really like me!”), but Field was actually quoting a line from her 1979 movie (and first Oscar win) “Norma Rae.”
The Oscars are held every year, and that provides an annual opportunity for more history-making memorable moments. Which winner will stand out on stage for this year’s ceremony?