Oscar: Memorable Moments and Speeches We Like–Part One

Oscar_statue_4Suppose you won an Oscar, what would you say.  How would you grab your 45 seconds in the international spotlight in front of oe billion viewers?

Oscar speeches are often the show’s most memorable–and most hilarious–moments, perhaps because they still maintain an aura of spontaneity.

Over the years, the speeches have shown great variability in length, substance (or lack of), and originality. The “Thank You” is the only customary note in the speech, but various people and objects have been thanked for different reasons. Maureen Stapleton (“Reds”) outdid them all, when she thanked “everybody I ever met in my entire life.”

Oscar can do strange things to the contenders, as Lili Zanuck, producer of “Driving Miss Daisy”, said: “I hope I’m as religious the rest of the year as I’ve been the last two months.”

Here is a sample of Oscar speeches that capture the flavor of their winners’ personality and their times.

Ellen_Degeneres_oscars_selfie_twitter_tweetThe Long and the Short of It:

The all-time record (over 5 minutes) still belongs to Greer Garson, “Mrs. Miniver”, who thanked everyone, from the Academy to “the doctor who brought me into the world.” Garson’s speech became a joke in Hollywood, imitated to death at parties.

The shortest one is Joe Pesci’s, “GoodFellas”, who simply said, “It’s my privilege. Thank you.”

“I wrote a long movie and I’m going to make a long speech,” quipped John Briley, Original Screenplay for “Gandhi”, and he did. So did Beatrice Straight, whose speech was almost as long as her part in “Network”, practically three scenes!

It’s All in the Timing

“It just happened that this year Mrs. March and I adopted a child and Mr. and Mrs. Beery adopted a child. And here we are, both getting awards for the best male performance of the year.” Fredric March, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, who split the 1931/2 Best Actor with Wallace Beery, “The Champ”.

The Long, Long Way to Oscar:
“It sure is a wonderful world when a tired crooner like me can walk away with this hunk of crockery.” Bing Crosby, “Going My Way”.

“It took me as long to win this as it took to win the West.” James Webb, Original Screenplay, “How the West Was Won”.

“I thought some day I might win an award for lasting so long! But I never thought I would get this particular award.” A tearful John Wayne, “True Grit”.

Tears, But No Time to Cry:
“I’m happy enough to cry, but I can’t take the time to do so. A taxi is waiting outside with the engine running.” Claudette Colbert, Best Actress for “It Happened One Night”, rushing to the train station.

Oscar Pregnancies:
“I may have the baby right here out of excitement.” Eva Marie Saint, “On the Waterfront”.

“It was a long walk, I didn’t think I would make it. As wonderful as “From Here to Eternity” was, what’s even more wonderful is Eternity to Here.” Donna Reed, “From Here to Eternity”

The Role’s the Thing:
“I accept this very gratefully for keeping my mouth shut. I think I’ll do it again.” Jane Wyman, “Johnny Belinda”, for playing a deaf-mute.

“I’d like to thank Mrs. Christy Brown. Anybody who gives birth 22 times deserves one of these.” Brenda Fricker, “My Left Foot”.

Mixed Nuts:
“I guess this proves there are many nuts in the Academy as anywhere else,” Jack Nicholson “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

“It looks like you all hated me so much that you are giving me the award for it. All I can say is I’ve loved being hated by you.” Nicholson’s co-star, Louise Fletcher

Credit Where Credit’s Due
“It reflects a more particular credit on the freedom of expression we have in our American society and the lack of censorship from the government or the people who put up the money.” Warren Beatty, Reds, thanking Barry Diller for greenlighting a movie about Communism.

Don’t Forget the Crew:
“On behalf of the sixty-odd thousand people who worked on this show.” Producer Mike Todd,” Around the World in 80 Days”.

“I’d like to thank the stunt men and women who taught me so well.” Barbara Stanwyck, Honorary Oscar.

Dont’ Forget the Props:
“Half of this Oscar belongs to a horse someplace out in the valley,” Lee Marvin “Cat Ballou”.

“Maybe the award should really go to my car,” Gene Hackman, “The French Connection”, alluding to the breathtaking chase scene.

“If I’d known what I know now, I’d have put a patch on my eye 35 years ago.” John Wayne, “True Grit”.

All in the Family:
“Many, many years ago I raised a son and I told him, if you ever become a writer or a director, please find a good part for your old man.” Walter Huston, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, directed by John Huston.

“This means a lot to me, since it comes from a role in which I was directed by my father. And I know it means a lot to him.” Anjelica Huston, “Prizzi’s Honor”.

“I guess I’m lucky that my grandmother was such a terrible driver.” Alfred Uhry, Adapted Screenplay, “Driving Miss Daisy”.

“I’ve got a spirit that guides me, starting from a great-grandmother who died at the age of 117.” Louis Gossett, Jr. “An Officer and a Gentleman”.