KEYS TO A GREAT OSCAR SPEECH
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
That’s right, my little chick-a-dees, Oscar time is upon us once again. As you know, THE LIST is the one-stop-shop for the stars and their blogging needs. That being the case, I thought I’d offer some tips on how to properly accept the industry’s top prize.
To set the stage… the room is quiet. The announcer says your name. The crowd errupts into applause. What now? Let’s figure it out… here we go:
1. BE PRESENT. It’s great that somebody like Woody Allen doesn’t put much stock in awards and focuses on the craft that he’s perfected. Really… that’s admirable. But blowing off the awards to play in some dive bar with your Jazz band is just insulting. Look, we already think people from Hollywood are conceited narcissists. We don’t need you pissing kerosene on the fire. The fact remains that winning an Oscar is a great honor. An honor a slew of other, even very distinguished and established, actors would cut their right hand off to get. Be mindful of that. Reasons for missing the Oscars should be the same as missing your best friends Bachelor Party… you’re sick, there’s a death in the family or you just can’t get out of work. That’s it!!! If none of those things apply to you, put your ass in that seat so I don’t have to watch Adrien Brody accept on your behalf.
2. EMBRACE YOUR EMOTIONS. Don’t be overcome by them! There’s nothing worse than watching a stunned winner stumble through their speech while staring at their trophy and muttering “WOW” every 3 seconds. That’s bad… what’s good is being swept up in the moment. You want to break dance like Cuba Gooding, Jr.? Do it. You want to do one handed push-ups like Jack Palance? By all means do. You want to start slinging sarcastic quips like Nicholson because you know, right then, how cool you are? Have at it. Just remember, you’re on stage. You’re still performing and this is what the audience wants! Sadly, I don’t think we’ll get any of that this year. Though, I do think Mo’Nique will give a good speech that leaves me feeling tingly and warm inside in a way only Big Mama can!
3. GET TO THE POINT. How quick you need to do this depends on who you are. Best actors and directors can take their time. Supporting actors have a certain amount of leeway as well. However, if you’ve just won for set design, spit it out. You need to realize you’re a couple of years away from being honored at a seperate ceremony held at a different location the weekend before. They will play you off and there’s no worse feeling than being in the middle of an Oscar speech when the music starts to play. That is, of course, except for the painful feeling of having to watch it. So, get to the point.
4. DO NOT SAY… “It’s an honor to be considered among these other amazing nominees.” The reason this is important is that you will most likely follow it up by reciting all their names and will most likely forget one or two. Likely the 5th nominee that we all knew wasn’t going to win. Sorry, Carey Mulligan! Also, realize that this really is no comfort to them. Sure, they sit there smiling at you with a look of respect and humbleness. But, remember, these are actors! I assure you that behind that glassy smile a cavalcade of imaginary daggers are shooting from their eyes, piercing through your breast-plate and stabbing the depths of your very soul.
5. DO NOT PLAN AHEAD. All right, so chances are you jotted down a few thoughts just in case you won so you wouldn’t forget because you’d most likely be overwhelmed and BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! Regardless, it just looks pompous… I’m talking to you Sean Penn! I mean I shouldn’t have to explain this one. See rule #2 (kerosene, fire). Plus, those “thoughts” are usually just a list of names. Which brings me to #6.
6. DON’T THANK EVERYONE. I personally prefer the old go-to of “There’s too many people I have to thank for this award, and too little time, so I’ll thank you all individually later.” Then, get on with it. If you HAVE to thank people, thank who you HAVE to thank. We don’t know these people and don’t care to know these people so be brief. Thank your agent, manager, and any studio execs or producers who got you the gig and may get you future work. If you won for a Weinstein movie, YOU MUST THANK HARVEY. And, most importantly, if you’re a man, don’t forget your wife or girlfriend. REMEMBER, she’s the one you have to live with!
7. LEAVE POLITICS AT THE DOOR. I really didn’t mind Michael Moore’s rant a few years back. In retrospect, he WAS right. Still, this is a superficial celebration and should be enjoyed as such. Going off on political and personal tangents just makes everyone uncomfortable. Besides, celebrities have many other outlets at their disposal for pushing their personal agendas.
EXCEPTION: Winning for a film that itself is political or offers social commentary (i.e. Boyz N The Hood, Schindler’s List, Milk).
FUN FACT: Marlon Brando is the only person to successfully break rules #1 & 7 simultaneously!
8. DON’T BROWN-NOSE. Listen up, Christoph Waltz. We know you love Quentin Tarantino and would probably love to work with him again. We also know that we would not know who you are, and you would not be getting an Oscar, if it were not for him. Feel free to take him aside after the show and let him know how you feel. But, for the love of God, onstage could you keep it to a simple Thank You… See rule #6. I mean the love you throw at that man is bordering on Homo-Erotic. And this is coming from a die hard fan.
SIDENOTE: (To Christoph Waltz) No more meandering metaphoric speeches that attempt to delve into and explain the acting experience. Just be yourself, my man! We all love you.
9. THANK THE ACADEMY. You’ve earned it. Not many people get the chance… well, maybe in front of their mirror but, in the immortal words of Switch from The Matrix, “Not like dis.”
10. LET THE KIDS BE. This one drives me nuts. At the end of your speech, do not tell your kids to go to bed. AAARGH! First off, the awards start at 5pm for Chrissakes. What time do you send your kids to bed? 6:30? If so, you’re probably a dick and shouldn’t draw attention to this fact. Secondly, let’s look at this from a Screenwriter’s perspective. Each year, 40,000 scripts are registered with the Writer’s Guild. Of those, around 4,000 are optioned. From those, a little less than 400 are given the Greenlight to go into production… this includes short stints in the cinema and some direct-to-DVD’s (and half of these are written by proven, working, established screenwriters in the industry). Now, from what’s left, 5 are nominated for Academy Awards and only one can win. That means you have a point-zero-zero-zero-zero-two-five percent (.000025%) chance of winning that award… and you’re thoughts are, “I’d better send the kids to bed?” What the FRACK? I’ll tell you what, if one of my scripts ever wins an Oscar, my kids can eat spoonfuls of sugar for dinner, while lighting illegal fireworks, running with scissors, cursing their mother and booting black tar heroine. After all, at that point, it’s a whole new world, my friends… a whole new world!
That’s it, Boy & Girl Wonders. Feel free to comment below and add your thoughts. I never edit any of the comments… unless you send me Spam. I hate Spam! But, hell, I even let some of those through. Remember, this was meant to be an interactive site, as much as I love the sound of my own voice.
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Check back next Saturday as that is when new posts go up. I’m also going to try and get some mid-week posts going in the future so stay tuned. Have a great week and enjoy the show!!!