The 86th Academy Awards ceremony will air live on March 2, 2014 on ABC. Many familiar celebrities will be in attendance, and movie lovers around the world are waiting for the biggest moments on the most important stage of all. Beyond the glitz and the glamour, the pageantry, and the tense moments, fans often point toward the acceptance speeches as what they enjoy the most. Let’s journey down memory lane and explore many of the most important and distinguished Oscar Awards acceptance speeches of all time. Enjoy the memories Oscar fans.
Joe Pesci Delivers a Short Speech…Really Short.
In 1991 diminutive actor Joe Pesci won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at the 63rd Academy Awards for his work in the movie Goodfellas. He defeated legends Al Pacino and Andy Garcia. Pesci’s laconic delivery left many in the audience stunned, not because of its eloquence but because of its brevity, which in this case was not the soul of wit. If the Academy deems an actor worthy of receiving one of the most prestigious Awards in the world, the recipient should have the class and wherewithal to say a few words (figuratively, not literally). Joe Pesci may have set a record for the shortest speech by a Best Supporting Actor recipient; “It’s my privilege. Thank you.” Words to live by!
Cuba Gooding Jr. Wins Best Supporting Actor Award
Pitted against the likes of talents such as James Woods and Edward Norton, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at the 69th Annual Academy Awards for his fine work in the movie Jerry Maguire (1996). Cuba Gooding Jr.’s warmth and fevered gesticulations delighted an explosively applauding audience. His speech began with a tearful show of gratitude for his wife (his high-school sweetheart) and children, his parents, God, and then everybody he could possibly think of. The Academy practically needed a cane to hook him off the stage long after the vintage Oscar music had begun to play. His speech is notable for its grace and emotion as well as for its longevity. Essentially, Cuba Gooding Jr. went in the opposite direction of Joe Pesci!
Michael Caine Puts on a Show at a Show, the 72nd Academy Awards
Introduced by an inspiring Judi Dench, the formidable Michael Caine won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor on account of his extraordinary work in the film The Cider House Rules (1999). The actor must have taken the entire audience to school because with his victory, class was instantly brought into the auditorium. He proved to be the most gracious winner in the history of the Oscars. He immediately accommodated his opponents by referencing the Academy’s linguistic adaptation of “the winner is…” to “and the Oscar goes to…” Michael Caine was humility itself that night. While thanking his fellow candidates for their tremendous ability, he managed to quip about Tom Cruise’s good fortune to have lost because (paraphrasing) Support Actor winners would have to take an abject pay cut! Michael Caine’s ability to be complimentary to everyone other than himself showed the world his extraordinary grace.
Tom Hanks Defeats the Greatest Assemblage of Candidates in Oscar History
Tom Hanks won the Oscar for Best Actor at the 66th Annual Academy Awards for his daring and memorable performance in the 1993 film, Philadelphia. Defeating the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Liam Neeson proved to the movie world that at that time Hanks represented the very best in the movie industry. After a heartfelt standing ovation, Hanks delved into a borderline tearful speech about his co-stars, and about the human dignity that is often denied to those overlooked or rejected by mainstream society. The actor embodied a sense of patriotism, and was surely imbued with a religious spirit that could not be diminished.
James Cameron Pulls no Punches as he Proclaims Himself “King of the World!”
Winning the Oscar for Best Director (Titanic, 1998) at the 70th Annual Academy Awards, James Cameron delivered a speech that failed to make much of an emotional connection with the audience. His words contained very little in the way of humility or elegance. Instead, Director Cameron’s Oscar Award winning speech is salient in the annals of time because of his sense of joy. He truly appreciated his paramount achievement and let the audience know that the best attitude in victory is pure happiness. The famed-director eagerly paid homage to Titanic by light-heartedly proclaiming, “I’m the king of the world!”
Julia Roberts Acts like an Actress at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards
When Julia Roberts received the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the 2000 hit movie Erin Brockovich, she achieved something extraordinary. Adding whipped cream on top of the ice-cream sundae, Roberts proceeded to make the audience laugh, cry, applaud, and await her words with bated-breath. She appeared to be an actress in victory and conveyed her warm and bubbly personality to the world. As Roberts uttered the words, “I’m so happy,” she nearly broke down in tears of joy. Her Best Actress acceptance speech rocked the house.
Best Oscar Acceptance Speech in History?
Just the mention of the name Meryl Streep sends Oscar-addicted onlookers running for the hills. She is one of the most cherished and revered actresses of all time, but Streep seems to have earned a disproportionate amount of Awards attention (18 nominations and 3 victories). Be that as it may, talent transcends all, so get over it! For her 2011 film The Iron Lady, Streep won the Best Actress Oscar at the 84th Academy Awards. Recognizing the perceived favoritism of the Academy, the actress immediately and humorously acknowledged America’s Meryl Street fatigue. She then responded to her critics with an all-time great quip, “whatever!” Streep sounded gracious but humble is not an adjective in her lexicon, nor should it be. Perhaps the greatest pure actress of all time, Meryl Streep thanked her husband, God and her hair stylist! What a speech.
Oscar Awards 2014
At the 86th Academy Awards ceremony we can expect more special moments, heartfelt speeches, and maybe a few fireworks. There will be familiar faces (Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, among others), and some relative newcomers nominated in/for various categories. Audiences will react to the speeches on Yahoo in the comments section and history will be made. When all is said and done, we pundits will have a veritable gold mine of material to work with. Enjoy the show folks and thanks for sharing Oscar history with us.