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Most memorable Oscar speeches

In case you have not realized from my blog, I am an avid follower of the Oscars.  I know it is all about the art of film, but the awards are just so much fun, and one of funnest aspects of Oscar night is the speeches.  A good speech seems to fly by as it helps guide the show from one category to the next.  Just keep it short and sweet by thanking God, your mother, and your agent.  Unfortunately, many speeches are not in any way good nor short, as the winner ends up thanking every person they have ever come in contact with.   As a result of this, these good speeches are even better since having a good speech is almost as rare as having a good new release in January and February.  Now let me countdown some of the most memorable speeches in Oscar history.

Sandra Bullock

“Did I really earn this, or did I just wear you all down?”

A question that was on everyone’s mind when Sandra asked the audience this during her acceptance speech.  While The Blind Side is a somewhat forgettable movie, it is nearly impossible to forget Sandra’s performance.  Julia Roberts must have been grinding her teeth as she watched Bullock win for a role that was originally offered to her.  Yet, I think it was refreshing to a coveted actress of our generation get justified recognition.  Sandra Bullock, you may have worn down our patience with an abundance of romcoms, but you really did earn this one.

Tom Hanks

I am unsure if any other winner has outed someone in their speech.  Yet revealing his high school drama teacher as a gay man is just one of the reasons that this truly touching speech is so memorable.  His unbelievable performance as a gay man suffering from AIDs in Philadelphia may have captured the hearts of audiences, but it is his speech that makes us reach for the tissues.

Melissa Leo

With one word, Leo’s speech goes from heartwarming to trashy.  But the f-word is a big matzo ball hanging out of your mouth, especially on Oscar night.  Maybe she thought she was staying in character.  Even if her speech is remembered as trash, it is still memorable among the many dull thank you lists.

Sally Field

“You like me, you really like me!”

Perhaps the most quotable Oscar speech, Sally Field won her second Oscar as she gushed the famous line.  Apparently, the line is a reference to her first Oscar winning role, but no one got it.  Yet, it amused most people, and remains one of the  few Oscar moments that nearly everyone knows.

Dustin Hoffman

One of the strangest speeches by far.  Dustin Hoffman starts off funny, then gets serious as he states how he has “mixed feelings” toward the Academy.   But oh boy, is he truthful in his words.  Hoffman’s speech is enlightening, heartwarming, and triumphant.  “We are laughed at when we are up here, sometimes, for ‘thanking.’ But when you work on a film, you discover that there are people who are giving that artistic part of themselves that goes beyond a paycheck. And they are never up here. And many of them are not members of the academy. And we never hear of them. But this Oscar is a symbol, I think, and it is given for appreciation for those people whom we never see.”

LIttle side note:  Dustin Hoffman put it best when he stated that he refuses to believe he beat out his fellow nominees.  There is no winning or losing in art, and being able to make art is enough of an award.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

The independent songwriters from Ireland won for Best Original Song for their musical romance, Once.  The music duo may be amateurs, but they deliver two of the greatest speeches in Oscar history.  While Marketa did not get the chance to thank the Academy (damn music cues!), John Stewart was smooth and invited her back on stage in order for her to give a proper thank you.  She remains the only person who has been invited back on stage to finish her speech.  They are humble, gracious, and hopeful.  Future winners should take tips from these two.

Little side note:  The two of you make beautiful music, and I hope to hear more of you in the future!

Sidney Poitier

A momentous and historic moment.  Poitier’s win for Lilies of the Field was kept brief as he states, “It has been a long journey to this moment.”  A journey it has surely been.  What more needs to be said.

Marion Cotillard

“Thank you, life!  Thank you, love!  And it is true that there are some angels in this city!”

My all-time favorite Oscar speech.  Never has someone’s trouble with a second language been so adorable.  The surprise winner is just that.  Marion was the dark horse among more high profile nominees, yet she took home the gold in her stunning performance in La Vie en Rose.  The French-actress was truly humbled by this win, and as a result of it, is now starring in some of the biggest American films of the past few years.  Maybe those angels she mentioned are real….

At last, the Oscar are this Sunday, February 26th.  You better tune in or I don’t know how our relationship will continue.


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