Best Oscar Speeches

Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 9:41 am

When someone wins an Oscar, you just never know what’s going to happen. Maybe they’ll graciously accept it, maybe they’ll refuse the honor, or maybe they’ll go on a rambling political rant. But regardless of which path they choose, the best Oscar speeches will have viewers all abuzz at the water cooler the following day. Below, I’ve listed some of the top Oscar speeches and one-liners. If you can think of any I’ve overlooked, be sure and make your voice heard in our comments section.

Before we get started, I thought you might be interested in the longest and shortest acceptance speeches in Oscar history. The longest belongs to Greer Garson, as she droned on for seven whole minutes. The shortest honor goes to Joe Pesci. Upon winning a Best Supporting Actor award for Goodfellas, he simply stated, “It was my privilege. Thank you.”

TV episodes & movies from Netflix – now instantly to your TV! Free trial

Marlon Brando for The Godfather – Upon being announced as the winner of the Best Actor award, audience members began looking for Marlon Brando to take the stage. Instead, an attractive young woman in Native American dress approached the podium. The following remains one of the best Oscar speeches, and I present it to you word for word.

“Hello, my name is Sacheen Littlefeather. I’m Apache, and I’m president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee. I’m representing Marlon Brando this evening, and he has asked me to tell you in a very long speech which I cannot share with you presently because of time, but I will be glad to share with the press afterwards, that he very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry…excuse me…and on television, in movie re-runs, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee. I beg at this time that I have not intruded on this evening, and that we will, in the future, our hearts and our understandings will meet with love and generosity. Thank you on behalf of Marlon Brando.”

Oddly enough, it was later revealed that Sacheen Littlefeather wasn’t her real name, and she wasn’t even a Native American. Brando was nominated for Academy Awards in the future, but it’sĀ little surpriseĀ that he never won again.

Tom Hanks for Philadelphia – After winning Best Actor for portraying a lawyer stricken with AIDS, Hanks delivered this compassionate speech:

“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 commonsense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all.”

Jamie Foxx for Ray – After the usual thanks to people like his agent, Foxx talked candidly about his late grandmother, a woman he attributed much of his success to.

“She still talks to me now, only now she talks to me in my dreams. And I can’t wait to go to sleep tonight, because we have a lot to talk about. I love you.”

Louise Fletcher for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – After winning the Best Actress Award for playing the evil Nurse Ratched, Fletcher took the podium and delivered a tear-jerking thanks to her parents. What rendered it all the more touching was that Fletcher’s parents were both deaf, and she gave the thanks via sign language.

Charlie Chaplin at the 44th Academy Awards – After years away from the limelight, Charlie Chaplin returned to the United States to accept an Honorary Oscar. Filled with emotion, the grateful Chaplin said the following:

“Oh, thank you so much. This is an emotional moment for me, and words seem so futile, so feeble. I can only say that…thank you for the honor of inviting me here, and, oh, you’re wonderful, sweet people. Thank you.”

Kunio Kato for La Maison en Petits Cubes – While accepting for Best Animated Short, Kunio Kato was delivering a standard Oscar acceptance speech, but then he concluded with a line that left the audience in stitches.

“Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.”

Paul Williams for “Evergreen” from A Star is Born – Standing only 5’2″ tall, Paul Williams delivered the following quip while accepting his Oscar for Best Song:

“I was going to thank all the little people, but then I remembered I am the little people.”

Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind – McDaniel became the first black performer to win an Oscar, and her humble acceptance remains one of the best Oscar speeches.

“Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, fellow members of the motion picture industry and honored guests: This is one of the happiest moments of my life, and I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting for one of the awards, for your kindness. It has made me feel very, very humble; and I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything that I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry. My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel, and may I say thank you and God bless you.”

Mickey Rooney accepting an Honorary Oscar in 1982 – The former child star brought tears to the eyes of audience members with his tale of being discarded by the industry.

“When I was 19 years old, I was the number one star of the world for two years; when I was 40, nobody wanted me — I couldn’t get a job.”

Whoopi Goldberg for Ghost – Looking out at a room filled with her idols, Whoopi delivered the following heartfelt line:

“As a little kid, I lived in the projects and you’re the people I watched. You’re the people who made me want to be an actor. I’m so proud to be here.”

Cuba Gooding Jr. for Jerry Maguire – After jumping around like a madman and doing some semi-breakdancing, Cuba Gooding Jr. took his enthusiasm to the podium and gushed:

“I love you! Tom Cruise! I love you, brother! I love you, man! . . . Everybody, I love you. I love you all. Cameron Crowe! James L. Brooks! James L. Brooks, I love you. Everybody who’s involved with this, I love you. I love you. Everybody involved.”

All the movies mentioned above can be rented from Netflix (for which we’ll receive a small commission). In the meantime, you can also enjoy the following articles:


This entry was posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2010 at 9:41 am and is filed under Academy Awards. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *