Every year the Academy Awards acceptance speeches leave lasting impressions on the audience. Whether their speeches are touching, shocking or down-right scandalous, the winners at the Oscars are always going to stimulate our curiosity. Before the 84th Academy Awards premiers on March 2nd of this year, let’s visit some of the most memorable speeches at the Oscars!
1973- Marlon Brando
In 1973, Marlon Brando won an Oscar for Best Actor (The Godfather). Brando refused to attend the awards ceremony. In his place, he sent a Native American civil rights activist named Sacheen Littlefeather to decline his Oscar. Making him the second performer to decline a Best Actor Oscar. Brando used his acceptance speech to make a political statement. In protest of “the treatment of American Indians” by Hollywood and the government, Brando used his win to protest their misrepresentation and abuse.
1985- Sally Field
In 1985, Sally Field won an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in Places in the Heart. Field’s acceptance speech became one of the most misquoted speeches of all time. The following phrase has been used extensively in pop culture since 1985, “You like me, you really like me!” However, Field’s actually said “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”
1994- Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks won Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia, in 1994. Hanks’ role was that of a closeted lawyer whom was diagnosed with AIDS. In his acceptance speech Hanks paid homage to an old teacher and a peer: “Mr. Rawley Farnsworth, who was my high school drama teacher, who taught me to act well the part, there all the glory lies. And one of my classmates under Mr. Farnsworth, Mr. John Gilkerson. I mention their names because they are two of the finest gay Americans, two wonderful men that I had the good fortune to be associated with, to fall under their inspiration at such a young age.” What makes this a memorable moment in awards history? Hanks’ teacher, Farnsworth, had not yet “come out”.
2002- Halle Berry
In 2002, Halle Berry won an Oscar for her role in Monster’s Ball. This win was the first time an African American actress had EVER won the Academy’s top award. Berry’s touching speech will always be a memorable moment in Academy history! Berry celebrated for African American women everywhere with her speech, “This moment is so much bigger than me. This is for every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance tonight because this door has been opened.”
2009- Heath Ledger
One of the most touching moments in Award’s history was Heath Ledger’s Oscar win after his death in 2008. Ledger’s family accepted his award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in The Dark Knight. This moment highlights the immortality of Ledger’s spirit.
What will the winners of the 84th Academy Awards include in their speeches this year?