You probably do not remember the movie that won Sally Field her Oscar for best actress in 1985 (Places in the Heart), but her “You like me! Right now, you like me!” comment is known to people who were not even born at that time. That memorable speech is often misquoted as “You like me, you really like me!” None the less, it remains one of those acceptances speeches that lives on well beyond the career of the actor. Some of the most memorable are also the most uncomfortable to watch. But, we do. And we will be watching for more like these five at this year’s Academy Awards.
Angelina Jolie, Best Supporting Actress, 1999
It was her first Academy Award. Maybe, if she didn’t look like Elvira Mistress of the Dark so much, the line “I’m so in love with my brother right now,” would not have seemed so creepy. The movie was Girl Interrupted and being a bit strange and controversial has not disrupted her career in the least.
James Cameron, Best Director, 1997
It was Cameron’s night; no doubt about that. He has written and directed some great movies. It would have been nice if he had enough acting talent to at least feign that he is a bit humble. Mimicking the “I’m king of the world!” line from Titanic is inane when anyone does it. Cameron’s “woooho whooohoooo” at the end of his raised it to another level of lame. And will keep him on the list of most cringe-worthy Oscar speeches for a long time to come.
Melissa Leo, Best Supporting Actress, 2010
She won for the movie The Fighter. Her speech is memorable not just for the overly dramatic faking of her excitement. They all do that. It is not just the obviously intentional F-bomb that she drops and then tries to pretend slipped out. Or the inexplicable “‘Cause it’s about SELLIN’ MOTION PICTURES, and RESPECTING THE WORK!” It is all these things combined with her stealing the walking cane from 95-year-old Kirk Douglas and pretending to need it more than him as they exit the stage.
Louise Fletcher, Best Actress, 1975
Louise Fletcher won for her work in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It is a great movie and Fletcher’s acceptance speech is one of the best of all time. Her speech was simple, genuine, and she finished by thanking her deaf parents in sign language. “I want to say thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.”
Jack Palance, Best Supporting Actor, 1992
About 40 years after making his film debut, Palance won for City Slickers. His co-star in the film, Billy Crystal, was also host of the Oscars that year. The 6’4″ Palance looked down at 5’7″ Crystal and used one of his quotes from the movie, “Billy Crystal… I crap bigger than him.” He then showed that, at age 73, he could still do one-handed push ups. It was a crowd-pleaser and remains one of the best and most memorable Oscar acceptance speeches.