« Click to Next Article »

Ranking the Top 7 Oscar Acceptance Speeches


Matthew McConughey and Lupita Nyong'o (Getty Images)
1. Best Supporting Actress - Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
With a speech that was touching, eloquent, and sincere, Nyong'o brought the house down. Her final thought was the kind of thing we've heard a million times but Nyong'o made it her own: "When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid." It was the line of the night. See her full speech below.

86th Annual Academy Awards Show
(Getty Image)
"Yes! Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own. Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position. This has been the joy of my life. I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I.

"Chiwetel, thank you for your fearlessness and how deeply you went into telling Solomon’s story. Michael Fassbender, thank you so much. You were my rock. Alfre and Sarah, it was a thrill to work with you. Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room, thank you. Sean Bobbitt, Kalaadevi, Adruitha, Patty Norris, thank you, thank you, thank you, I could not be here without your work.

"I want to thank my family for your training and the Yale School of Drama as well for your training. My friends, the Wilsons, this one’s for you. My brother, Junior, sitting by my side. Thank you so much. You are my best friend. And Ben, my other best friend, my chosen family.

"When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.

"Thank you."

2. Best Actor - Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
The good ol' boy gave us a show. McConaughey showed a range of emotion in a speech that brought us behind the curtain. His speech was open-hearted and warm, and we all got to know the actor a little bit better. He also showed his fans he hasn't forgotten his roots by closing with "Alright, Alright, Alright." 


(Getty Images)
"Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to the Academy for this—all 6,000 members. Thank you to the other nominees. All these performances were impeccable in my opinion. I didn’t see a false note anywhere. I want to thank Jean-Marc Vallée, our director. Want to thank Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, who I worked with daily.

"There’s a few things, about three things to my account that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase. Now, first off, I want to thank God. ‘Cause that’s who I look up to. He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton, who said, 'When you’ve got God, you got a friend. And that friend is you.'

"To my family, that who and what I look forward to. To my father who, I know he’s up there right now with a big pot of gumbo. He’s got a lemon meringue pie over there. He’s probably in his underwear. And he’s got a cold can of Miller Lite and he’s dancing right now. To you, Dad, you taught me what it means to be a man. To my mother who’s here tonight, who taught me and my two older brothers… demanded that we respect ourselves. And what we in turn learned was that we were then better able to respect others. Thank you for that, Mama. To my wife, Camila, and my kids Levi, Vida and Mr. Stone, the courage and significance you give me every day I go out the door is unparalleled. You are the four people in my life that I want to make the most proud of me. Thank you.

"And to my hero. That’s who I chase. Now when I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say 'who’s your hero?' And I said, 'I don’t know, I gotta think about that. Give me a couple of weeks.' I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says 'who’s your hero?' I said, 'I thought about it. You know who it is? It’s me in 10 years.' So I turned 25. Ten years later, that same person comes to me and says, 'So, are you a hero?' And I was like, 'not even close. No, no, no.' She said, 'Why?' I said, 'Because my hero’s me at 35.' So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.

"So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we’re chasing, to that I say, 'Amen.' To that I say, 'Alright, alright, alright.' To that I say 'just keep living.' Thank you."

3. Best Actress - Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Despite her awkward first joke and mixed metaphor, Blanchett got in the rhythm of things quickly. She was the only one of the actors to single out every fellow nominee which is one of those things you want to see during the Oscars. She then segued into a quick cheers to her director under fire, Woody Allen, before championing Blue Jasmine as proof that movies with females at their center can be popular. A sentiment we absolutely second. 

86th Annual Academy Awards Show
(Getty Images)
"Sit down. You’re too old to be standing. Thank you, Mr. Day-Lewis, from you it exacerbates this honor to and it blows it right out of the ballpark. Thank you so much to the Academy. As random and as subjective as this award is, it means a great deal in a year of extraordinary, yet again, extraordinary performances by women. Amy Adams, everything you do, but your performance in American Hustle blew my mind. And Meryl, what can I say? Sandra, I could watch that performance to the end of time, and I sort of felt like I had. Julia, #suckit. You know what I mean? And Judi Dench, I mean what a career. She’s not here tonight because at the age of 79, her film was so successful that she’s in India doing a sequel. I mean what a career that is, if I could hope.

And me, I’m here excepting an award in an extraordinary screenplay by Woody Allen. Thank you so much, Woody, for casting me. I truly appreciate it. I’m so very proud that Blue Jasmine stayed in the cinemas for as long as it did. And thank you to Sony Classics, to Michael and Tom for their extraordinary support. For so bravely and intelligently distributing the film and to the audiences who went to see it and perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.

"Thank you to my mum, to my sister, to my brother, to my three glorious sons. I would not be standing here without you. To my husband, Andrew, you are a legend. Thank you to my agent, Hylda Queally, you’re behind the pillar somewhere up there. You are a goddess. To my agent in Australia, Robyn Gardiner, I love you so very much. To my publicist Lisa Kasteler. To the sublime Sally Hawkins. And to the extraordinary cast of Blue Jasmine. I don’t know how to do this with other actors and this I share with you. To the hair and makeup people who sweated me up and tried to make me look attractive. Thank you for the attempt. To Carla Meyer for getting Sally and I together and for incredible support. To Helen Robin. To everyone involved in Blue Jasmine, I thank you so much.

"And finally, I would like to thank every single member of the Sydney Theatre Company, one of the great theater companies in the world. For me, working on Blue Jasmine, it was a real synthesis of my work in the theater and on film. And not only working with you for the last six years has been the most enormous privilege of my career but it’s made me a better actress. There is so much talent in Australia and Michael Wilkinson and C.M. and I are just tonight’s tip of the iceberg. Thank you so much. Thank you."

4. Best Original Screenplay - Spike Jonze, Her
Jonze did something original, which seemed to fit his personality and category, incidentally. He spoke as if he were surrounded by everyone important to him and to Her. It was a clever way to make a short speech, although we would've loved to have heard more.


(Getty Images)
"Wow. Thank you. Thank you very much. This is an amazing moment. I appreciate it. I have 42 seconds to speak, so I better hurry. I’m not up here alone. I’m up here with all of my friends and family who support me and help me make what we make. Everybody… Many of them in the room. But they’re all up here in this room, up on the stage with me right now. And I appreciate everyone. There’s Hoyte, he’s over there laughing next to Robert De Niro. There’s Natalie crying, Bryan smiling. Megan Ellison, who’s very shy. She’s hiding in the back. It’s all of my friends. Everyone that I love. We made a movie about relationships and intimacy and that’s what we share together, and so this is for all of us up here. And thank you guys for this."
 
5. Best Adapted Screenplay - John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Again, short and sweet proves a solid strategy. Ridley shared a brief anecdote before giving thanks to the man whose memoir Ridley adapted, Solomon Northup. He also seemed genuinely moved by the moment and a bit lost for words.


(Getty Images)
"Thank you, all. I started writing in sitcoms a long time ago. And at that time I was very fortunate to meet a script coordinator who was gracious enough to read everything I wrote. And when she thought it was ready, she put a smiling face at the end and I knew that it was job done. And, Gayle, seeing you here tonight, smiling, you take away all that soul-crushing inadequacy. All the praise goes to Solomon Northup.

"Those are his words. That is his life. All the thanks goes to the entire crew, the entire cast, to everyone at Fox Searchlight, at River Road, at New Regency and Plan B, Mr. Pitt, most especially to Dede and Jeremy Kleiner, you made this film happen. Jeremy, you made it happen.

"Thank you so much. Mom, Dad, Lisa, Beth, John, Jason…all my love. Thank you very much. Thank you."

6. Best Director - Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Cuarón went a little long on the shout-outs, naming a ton of people. That drops him towards the bottom of our ranks, but he was still charming and heartfelt. His best moment came when he thanked his "amazing son and co-writer Jonás Cuarón." 

86th Annual Academy Awards Show
(Getty Images)
"Wow, thank you. Thanks to the Academy. Like any other human endeavor, making a film can be a transformative experience, and I want to thank Gravity because for many of us involved in this film, it was definitely a transformative experience. And it’s good, because it took so long that if not, it would be like a waste of time. What really sucks is that for a lot of these people, that transformation was wisdom; for me, it was just the color of my hair. I want to share this with all these wise people who made this movie happen: my amazing son and co-writer Jonás Cuarón. Sandra Bullock. Sandy, you’re Gravity. You are the soul, the heart of the film. You’re the most amazing collaborator and one of the best people I ever met. George Clooney, for your absolute trust. David Heyman, Chivo and Tim Webber for making this film happen. The wise guys of Warner Bros., the wise people at Warner Bros., Kevin Tsujihara, Sue Kroll, [unintelligible], Greg Silverman, Lynn Harris, Chris De Faria. And the film took so long that we went through two different administrations, so I have to honor as well Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov. Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro et Gabriela Rodriguez et Steve Rabineau, Henry Holmes et Jim Berkus, Tracey Jacobs, Cristina, [Spanish] Sheherazade, Bu, Olmo. [Spanish]. Bye guys."

7. Best Supporting Actor - Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Leto took special care to thank his mother, always a classy move. He also paid tribute to the victims of HIV and AIDS and those living with the disease. His Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club is the second character afflicted with AIDS to be honored with an Academy Award (after Tom Hanks in Philadelphia). But he's last in our ranks because he shamelessly plugged his band (30 Seconds to Mars) and made awkward political references (who is he, Clooney?).

86th Annual Academy Awards — Part 2
(ABC)"Incredible. Ellen, I love you. To my fellow nominees, I’m so proud to share this journey with you. I’m in awe and have so much respect for you all. To the Academy, thank you. In 1971, Bossier City, Louisiana, there was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged her kids to be creative, to work hard and to do something special. That girl is my mother and she’s here tonight. And I just want to say, I love you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me to dream. To my brother, Shannon, the best big brother in the world, you’re a true artist. Thank you so much for sharing this insane and amazing adventure that is 30 Seconds to Mars, and for being my best friend. I love you. Thank you.

"To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here and as you struggle to… to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible… We’re thinking of you tonight. And this is, is incredibly special as well because there’s so many people that helped me get here. And I just want to say thank you to Focus Features, to Mick Sullivan, to Jim Toth, to Jason Weinberg, to Emma Ludbrook, to Kelly Adams, to the entire Dallas Buyers Club team. Matthew, I love. Jean-Marc. And this for the
36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you. Thank you so much and goodnight."

(Speech transcripts courtesy of The Academy Publicity Department)
View Lupita Nyong'o Pictures »
« PREV NEXT »
Leave a Comment!