The Oscars, in itself, is one of the most memorable events of the year for actors from around the world and goes without saying, the speeches by the winners ought to be memorable. A memorable speech need not always be a lengthy or an emotional speech with ‘Thank You’s’ to the entire world, but one that makes it stand out from all the others, thereby making it worthy of being remembered time and again in years to come.
Take a look at some of the memorable speeches in history.
More than the acceptance speech, Angelina Jolie, who won the Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress for ‘Girl, Uninterrupted’ in 1999, stunned the audience when she practically made out with her brother, James Haven at the red carpet.
Just when people thought it couldn’t get any worse, Jolie raised several eyebrows when she got on stage and declared that she was “just so in love with my brother right now”, thereby cementing her place on the list of memorable Oscar acceptance speeches for years to come.
“God, I`m surprised nobody has ever fainted up here. I`m, I`m in shock and I`m so in love with my brother right now. He just held me and said he loved me and I know he`s so happy for me. And thank you for that. And thank you to Columbia. Winona, you`re amazing and thank you for supporting all of us through this. And all the girls in this film are amazing, and Whoopi, everybody, and my family for loving me. Janeen Schreyer and your sister Michelle -- Michelle, we love you. Geyer Kosinski. My mom, who is the most brave, beautiful woman I`ve ever known. And my dad, you`re a great actor but you`re a better father. And Jamie, this is, you`re just, I have nothing without you. You are the strongest, most amazing man I`ve ever known and I love you. And thank you so much.”
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who won the Oscar for the Best Original Screenplay for ‘Good Will Hunting’ in 1998, were just newbies at the time and were trying to make their mark in Hollywood. Although enthusiastic about their success, the duo was very modest about their success at the 70th Academy Awards.
Ben Affleck (with comments by Matt Damon):
“I just said to Matt, losing would suck and winning would be really scary. It`s really, really scary. We`re just really two young guys who were fortunate enough to be involved with a lot of great people whom it`s incumbent upon us -- there`s no way we`re doing this in less than twenty seconds -- upon whom it`s incumbent of us to thank. Harvey Weinstein, who believed in us and made this movie. Gus Van Sant, for brilliant direction. Robin Williams, who delivered such great lines. Minnie Driver, whose performance was brilliant. Stellan Skarsgard, who was great. (Your brother.) My brother Casey, who`s brilliant in the movie. (Cole Hauser.) Cole Hauser. My mother (Jon Gordon) and Matt`s mother, (my mom) the most beautiful women here. (My dad right over there. Jack said hi to you. Alright!) Shhh... (Jon Gordon from Miramax.) Jon Gordon. Chris Moore (Chris Moore!), who produced the movie (Chris Moore!). Patrick Whitesell, the best agent in Hollywood! (Yeah! Patrick Whitesell!) And Cuba Gooding, for showing us how to give [an] alright acceptance speech! (All our friends and family! And everybody back in Boston watching us tonight!) And thank you so much to the city of Boston... And I know we`re forgetting somebody. (Whoever we forgot we love you! We love you!) Thank you! Thank you so much!”
Cate Blanchett, who bagged the award for the Best Supporting Actress for ‘The Aviator’ at the 77th Academy Awards in 2004, is the only Oscar-winner to win an Oscar for portraying another Oscar-winner – Kathryn Hepburn.
The acceptance speech is widely remembered because Blanchett, who clearly seemed excited, openly told the director of ‘The Aviator’, Martin Scorsese, that “I hope my son will marry your daughter”.
“Thank you very much. Thank you to the Academy who know Katharine Hepburn so well and is so intimately acquainted with her work. This is an indescribable surprise and honor. Thank you. I know you think it`s cheesy, sweetheart, but I have to thank you, my husband. And Hylda Queally and Robyn Gardiner, my uber-agents. And the wonderful Lisa Kasteler. Everyone involved in ‘The Aviator’. When you play someone as terrifyingly well-known as Katharine Hepburn, it`s a collaborative effort; you need as much help as you can get. And thank you, of course, to Miss Hepburn. The longevity of her career, I think, is inspiring to everyone. But most importantly, and on behalf of everyone I know in ‘The Aviator’, thank you to Martin Scorsese. I hope my son will marry your daughter. Thank you.”
Gwyneth Paltrow, who won the Best Actress Oscar in 1999 for ‘Shakespeare in Love’, made history because she couldn’t stop crying during her acceptance speech as she thanked seemingly every person she knew.
“I would like to thank the Academy from the bottom of my heart. I would like to thank Emily Watson, and Fernanda Montenegro, and my friend Cate Blanchett, and the greatest one who ever was, Meryl Streep. I don`t feel very deserving of this in your presence.
But I would like to thank Harvey Weinstein and everybody at Miramax Films for their undying support of me. I would like to -- I wouldn`t be in this auditorium, let alone up here, if it wasn`t for two incredibly talented men. Our director John Madden, thank you so much for all that you gave me. You are so inspiring. And to my soulful partner, Joseph Fiennes, who I share this with. I wouldn`t be here without him. I would like to thank the rest of our miraculous cast and crew. Our producers Donna Gigliotti and David Parfitt -- I didn`t forget you this time! Especially Jim Magill and Sophie Shand and my friend Ben Affleck. I would like to thank my wonderful agent Rick Kurtzman who is a beautiful man and a wonderful agent and in his case that is not an oxymoron. I would like to thank Harold Brown, Stuart Gelwarg*, and Stephen Huvane.
I would not have been able to play this role had I not understood love of a tremendous magnitude, and for that I thank my family. My mother Blythe Danner, who I love more than anything, and my brother Jake Paltrow, who is just the dearest person in the whole world. My earthly guardian angel, Mary Wigmore. And especially to my father Bruce Paltrow, who has surmounted insurmountable obstacles this year. I love you more than anything in the world. And to my grandpa Buster, who almost made it here tonight, but couldn`t quite get here. Grandpa, I want you to know that you have created a beautiful family who loves you and loves each other more than anything, and we thank you for that.”
I would like to dedicate this to two young men who lost their lives very early. Harrison Kravis and my cousin Keith Paltrow. We miss you very much. And I thank you. Thank you so much, everybody!”
Halle Berry, who won the Oscar for Best Leading Actress for ‘Monster’s Ball’ in 2002, became the first black woman to win the esteemed award and it also marked Berry`s first Academy Award win overall.
The dusky beauty, who was married to second husband Eric Benet at the time, thanked everyone from her family, to her representatives, film producers and even Oprah Winfrey in her acceptance speech. “Oh my God. Oh my God. I`m sorry. This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It`s for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it`s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I`m so honored. I`m so honored. And I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which His blessing might flow.
I want to thank my manager, Vincent Cirrincione. He`s been with me for twelve long years and you fought every fight, and you loved me when I`ve been up but more importantly you`ve loved me when I`ve been down. You have been a manager, a friend and the only father I`ve ever known. Really. And I love you very much.
I want to thank my mom who has given me the strength to fight every single day to be who I want to be and to give me the courage to dream, that this dream might be happening and possible for me. I love you, Mom, so much. Thank you, my husband, who is just a joy of my life. And India, thank you for giving me peace because only with the peace that you`ve brought me have I been allowed to go to places that I never even knew I could go. Thank you. I love you and India with all my heart.
I want to thank Lionsgate. Thank you, Mike Paseornek, Tom Ortenberg, for making sure everybody knew about this little tiny movie. Thank you for believing in me. Our director Marc Forster, you`re a genius. You`re a genius. This moviemaking experience was magical for me because of you. You believed in me, you trusted me and you gently guided me to very scary places. I thank you.
I want to thank Ivana Chubbuck, I could have never figured out who the heck this lady was without you. I love you. Thank you. I want to thank Lee Daniels, our producer. Thank you for giving me this chance, for believing that I could do it. And now tonight I have this. Thank you.
I want to thank my agents. CAA, Josh Lieberman especially. I have to thank my agents. Kevin Huvane, thank you. Thank you for never kicking me out and sending me somewhere else. Thank you. Um... I, I, I, who else? I have so many people that I know I need to thank. My lawyers! Neil Meyer, thank you. Okay, wait a minute. I got to take... seventy-four years here! I got to take this time! I got to thank my lawyer Neil Meyer for making this deal. Doug Stone.
I need to thank lastly and not leastly, I have to thank Spike Lee for putting me in my very first film and believing in me. Oprah Winfrey, for being the best role model any girl can have. Joel Silver, thank you. And thank you to Warren Beatty. Thank you so much for being my mentors and believing in me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
Even though Heath Ledger posthumously won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’, his parents and sister accepted the award on his behalf and made it memorable by saying that the late actor’s 3-year-old daughter, Matilda would receive the award.
Kim Ledger (Father) –“First of all I`d have to say this is ever so humbling - being amongst such wonderful people in such a wonderful industry. Firstly I`d like to thank the Academy for recognising our son`s amazing work, Warner Brothers, and Christopher Nolan in particular for allowing Heath the creative licence to develop and explore this crazy Joker character. To Steve Alexander, Heath`s mentor, special friend and agent for 10 years, we love you Steve. This award tonight would have humbly validated Heath`s quiet determination to be truly accepted by you all here, his peers within an industry he so loved. Thank you.”
Sally Bell (Mother) – “Heath was such a compassionate and generous soul who added so much excitement and inspiration to our lives. We have been truly overwhelmed by the honour and respect being bestowed upon him with this award. Tonight we are choosing to celebrate and be happy for what he has achieved.”
Kate Ledger (Sister) – “Heath, we both knew what you had created in the Joker was extraordinarily special and had even talked about being here on this very day. We really wish you were, but we proudly accept this award on behalf of your beautiful Matilda. Thank you.”
Sandra Bullock nailed it at the 2010 Oscars, where she won the award for the Best Actress for ‘The Blind Side’, for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy in the football drama. During the touching acceptance speech, Bullock – who had never been nominated before – graciously thanked the four other Best Actress nominees - Carey Mulligan, Helen Mirren, Gabourey Sidibe and Meryl Streep.
“Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down? I would like to thank the Academy for allowing me in the last month to have the most incredible ride with rooms full of artists that I see tonight and that I’ve worked with before and I hope to work with in the future, who inspire me and blaze trails for us. Four of them that I’ve fallen deeply in love with I share this night with and I share this award with: Gabby, I love you so much. You are exquisite. You are beyond words to me.
Carey, your grace and your elegance and your beauty and your talent makes me sick. Helen, I feel like we are family through family and I don’t have the words to express just what I think of you. And Meryl, you know what I think of you and you are such a good kisser. I have so many people to thank for my good fortune in this lifetime and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I know. To the family that allowed me to play them, the Tuohy family, I know they’re in here and you’ll probably hear her in a minute. Maybe not. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to… the family that made this film that gave me the opportunity to do something different.
John Lee Hancock, Gil Netter, Alcon, Warner Bros., the actors, everyone who’s shown me kindness when it wasn’t fashionable, I thank you. To everyone who was mean to me when it wasn’t… George Clooney threw me in a pool years ago. I’m still holding a grudge. But there’s so many people to thank.
Not enough time, so I would like to thank what this film is about for me which are the moms that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from. Those moms and parents never get thanked.
I, in particular, failed to thank one. So… if I can take this moment to thank Helga B. for not letting me ride in cars with boys until I was 18 because she was right. I would’ve done what she said I was gonna do. For making me practice every day when I got home. Piano, ballet, whatever it is I wanted to be.
She said to be an artist, you had to practice every day, and for reminding her daughters that there’s no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love.
So, to that trailblazer, who allowed me to have that - Sandra nods to husband Jesse James in the audience. And this. And this.
I thank you so much for this opportunity that I share with these extraordinary women and my lover Meryl Streep. Thank you.”
Steven Spielberg won the Oscar for the Best Director for his war drama ‘Saving Private Ryan’ at the 71st Academy Awards, and said that it was an "extraordinary moment" in his life. During his acceptance speech he thanked Tom Hanks, who starred as Captain John Miller in the film, for his efforts and even those who lost loved ones during World War II.
“Thank you. Am I allowed to say I really wanted this? This is fantastic. Let me just turn my eyes to Mr. Hanks who from the very, very beginning said to me, this is going to be something extraordinary. We weren`t really talking about the film, we were talking about the experience of making ‘Saving Private Ryan’, and he was right. It is one of the most extraordinary events of all of our lives, and the lives of all of our families, we were all in it together. Katie, for putting up with how much I`ve worried about this movie for the last eighteen months. Thank you for letting me be a neurotic at home. And all my children. I have two kids here tonight and they`ve never been to the Oscars before and I`m really happy I had a chance to make Max and Theo proud of their dad, and they`re sitting up there somewhere. Thank you, kids, very, very much. And my other kids at home, Mikaela and Destry and Sasha and Sawyer, and Jessica who is here, too.
This has just been an amazing experience and what I`d like to do is just thank very, very sincerely the families who lost sons in World War II. I want to thank the Niland family and the Sullivan families, and I want to thank all the families who incurred these tremendous losses. In this war we tried to show a story of one such family, and it turned up there were many such families, unfortunately. And Dad, you`re the greatest. Thank you for showing me that there is honor in looking back and respecting the past. I love you very much. This is for you. Thank you.”
Tilda Swinton, who won the Best Supporting Actress award at the 2008 Oscars for her role in ‘Michael Clayton’, thanked her co-stars and the director of the project, Tony Gilroy, in her acceptance speech. However, her comparison of the golden trophy with her American agent made the speech iconic.
“Oh, no. Happy birthday, man. I have an American agent who is the spitting image of this. Really truly the same shape head and, it has to be said, the buttocks. And I`m giving this to him because there`s no way I would be in America at all ever on a plane, if it wasn`t for him. So, Brian Swardstrom, I`m giving this to you. And Tony Gilroy walks on water, it`s entirely official as far as I`m concerned, and Jen Fox and Steve Samuels, our incredible producers. And Sydney Pollack, and George Clooney, you know, the seriousness and the dedication to your art, seeing you climb into that rubber bat suit from ‘Batman & Robin’," the one with the nipples, every morning under your costume, on the set, off the set, hanging upside-down at lunch, you rock, man. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Tom Hanks, who bagged the Oscar for Best Actor for ‘Philadelphia’ in 1994, made history by inspiring a movie through his lengthy acceptance speech.
The speech, which no doubt seemed genuine, had only one problem - he thanked his high school drama teacher, Rawley Farnsworth, as well as a former classmate, who he called "two of the finest gay Americans, two wonderful men" but Farnsworth was still in the closet about his sexuality – and this slip of the lip inspired the 1997 film ‘In & Out’.
“Here`s what I know. I could not be standing here without that undying love that was just sung about by, not Bruce [Springsteen], but Neil Young. And I have that in a lover that is so close to fine, we should all be able to experience such heaven right here on earth. I know also that, I should not be doing this, I should not be here, but I am because of the union of such filmmakers as Ed Saxon, Ron Nyswaner, Kristi Zea, Tak Fujimoto, Jonathan Demme -- who seems to have these [referring to the Oscar] attached to his limbs for every actor that works with him of late. And a cast that includes Antonio Banderas, who, second to my lover, is the only person I would trade for. And a cast that includes many other people, but the actor who really put his film image at risk, and shone because of his integrity, Mr. Denzel Washington, who I really must share this with.
I would not be standing here if it weren`t for two very important men in my life, so... two that I haven`t spoken with in awhile, but I had the pleasure of just the other evening. 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. I wish my babies could have the same sort of teacher, the same sort of friends.
And there lies my dilemma here tonight. I know that my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels. We know their names. They number a thousand for each one of the red ribbons that we wear here tonight. They finally rest in the warm embrace of the gracious creator of us all. A healing embrace that cools their fevers, that clears their skin, and allows their eyes to see the simple, self-evident, common sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all and was written down on paper by wise men, tolerant men, in the city of Philadelphia two hundred years ago. God bless you all. God have mercy on us all. And God bless America.”