Giving a great Oscar acceptance speech requires a bit of magic, and the winner must find the perfect balance between charm and humility.
However, often the most remembered speeches are the ones that end in disaster.
Over the years, many actors have been booed, pitied, or laughed at for their podium misstep. Some speeches are too sugary, others too long. The worst is when an actor only thinks of himself.
Despite Frances McDormand’s empowering speech about the gender imbalance in Hollywood a few years back, attempts to inject political messages into the ceremony haven’t always been handled so well. Oscar history is peppered with awkward silences and boos that have invariably welcomed bad political jokes and awkward protests.
As the clock ticks down to the 94th awards ceremony, all the nominees are hoping to take home a statue. But more than that, if they win, they will expect to accept the award with grace and composure, or else risk falling into the ranks of these 10 historic flops.
Sally Field for Places in the Heart
Sally Field set the bar high for self-congratulations with her infamous Best Actress acceptance speech in 1985. Often misquoted as “You like me, you really like me,” Field actually said, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me.” taste”. , right now, you like me!” The look at me sentiment was clear, and the catchphrase would linger in the public’s memory longer than most of her films. Fortunately, Field saw the funny side of things and repeated the line in a commercial for Charles Schwab bank in 2000.
Gwyenth Paltrow by Shakespeare in love
Gwyneth Paltrow’s tearful Best Actress acceptance speech for 1998’s Shakespeare in Love is often held up as the epitome of schmaltz awards season. On the verge of tears from the get-go, Paltrow trembled with emotion as she sobbed along a long list of collaborators and loved ones. Her utter sentimentality made some viewers doubt her sincerity. Others just felt sorry for Paltrow, who clearly couldn’t keep her composure.
Sean Penn for Mystic River
Sean Penn, who picked up his first Best Actor award in 2004, began with a joke about missing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The joke earned an unimpressed hush, and the audience fell silent as Penn proceeded to thank a long, scattered list of contributors. He at least remembered to give credit to Robin Wright, then his wife, a mention he forgot to give five years later when he won again for Milk.
Sam Smith for Specter
Sam Smith caused a stir when they accepted their Best Original Song award for “Writing’s On the Wall,” which they co-wrote with Jimmy Napes for the 2016 Bond film. Smith, who has since announced his decision to use gender-neutral pronunciations later admitted they were drunk when they mistakenly claimed that “no openly gay man has ever won an Oscar” before. The singer had misinterpreted a fact given to them by Sir Ian McKellen, who was referring specifically to the acting categories. In fact, the Best Song category features Elton John and Stephen Sondheim as previous winners. Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Milk in 2009, quickly called out Smith for his mistake. The pop singer later apologized.
Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables
Anne Hathaway’s win for Best Supporting Actress in 2012 was deemed inevitable. However, in the run-up to the Oscars, the actress’s appeal began to wane thanks to her controversial comments about her weight loss and her admission that she had cried watching herself act on screen. Accepting the award, Hathaway began by enthusiastically muttering “she came true,” a cloying gesture that epigraphed a speech many viewers found insincere and overrehearsed.
Jack Balance for Urbanites
Jack Palance was 73 years old when he accepted the award for Best Supporting Actor in 1992. After commenting on the producers’ alleged concerns about his age, he dropped to the floor and began doing one-armed push-ups. As the crowd cheered, he looked goofy, and the bawdy jokes that followed did little to help. To his credit, Palance would continue to perform for over a decade afterward.
Matthew McConaughey for the Dallas Buyers Club
Dubbed “the McConaissance,” Matthew McConaughey’s journey from lackluster rom-com star to Hollywood star reached its apex in 2014 when the Dazed and Confused star picked up the Best Actor award for his charismatic role in Jean. -Marc Vallee. McConaughey began by thanking God and then talked about his “hero,” a person he must “pursue.” Turns out McConaughey was talking about himself ten years from now. Even dropping his signature catchphrase “fine, fine, fine” wasn’t enough to tie down the bizarre and egotistical speech that left the audience baffled.
Roberto Benigni for Life is beautiful
Although English may not be Roberto Benigni’s first language, some of the expressions he used during his 1999 acceptance speech are not explained. After beating Hollywood megastar Tom Hanks, nominee for Saving Private Ryan, the eccentric Italian made a lively speech, which included the bizarre line: “I wish I were Jupiter and kidnap everyone and lie in the firmament making love to everyone.”
Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Having built a respected career as a character actress, Melissa Leo finally gained mainstream recognition when she won Best Supporting Actress in 2010, at the age of 50. Leo had personally financed the Hollywood commercials for his Oscar campaign. And while they worked wonderfully, her speech didn’t follow her lead. She began by flirting with Kirk Douglas, 94, before deploying an accidental F-bomb and gushing thanks to the Academy. To top it off, Leo walked off the stage hunched over, using Douglas’s cane.
George C. Scott for Patton
In 1971, George C Scott became the first actor to turn down an Oscar. Writing to the Academy, Scott said that he objected to the notion of the actors competing against each other, calling the entire ceremony a “meat parade”. Producer Frank McCarthy, who accepted the award in Scott’s absence, apparently missed the memo and delivered a speech lavishly praising the Academy.
You can read the full list of Oscar 2022 nominations here.