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OSCAR HISTORY: Memorable Oscar Speeches


Tom Hanks
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.

Meryl Streep
I have a lot of people to thank and I'm going to be one of those people that tries to mention a lot of names, because I know just two seconds ago my mother and father went completely berserk and I'd like to give some other mothers and fathers that same opportunity.

Mickey Rooney
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.

William Holden
to Barbara
Before Barbara and I present this next award, I'd like to say something. 39 years ago this month, we were working on a film together called GOLDEN BOY, and it wasn't going too well because I was going to be replaced. But due to this lovely human being and her interest and understanding, and her professional integrity, and her encouragement, and above all her generosity, I am here tonight.

Warren Beatty
You know, uh, although some might say it's a little soon to be giving this to a guy in his early 40's, uh, I, to have known that I was going to get it particularly this year with all's been very helpful around the house. I must say that, you know, if you had your choice, say Thalberg or the White House, I think I'd stick with this. I don't want to talk politics here and I don't want to suggest some direction that the movies should go into. But I think I would like to, if I may, pay tribute to the memory of my mother Kathlyn, my father Ira, and to the people who nurtured me as a child in Virginia with my sister Shirley. And beginning with Stella Adler and Elia Kazan and to all the people who worked with me and taught me. You know I came to Hollywood when I was in my early 20's. Many of the previous winners of this award actually taught me. You know Sam Goldwyn was in his 80's, God bless him, and he treated me like a grown-up. Now it's very interesting. I think most of the people that are teaching me now seem to be in their early 20s and I do whatever I can to try to get them to stop treating me like a grown-up. But I thank them. I thank my profession for giving me freedom and access. The freedom to live a much fuller life apart from the movies and the access to get out and get to know the world and then come back and go back to making movies. Please forgive me for not making more of them, I'll try to do better. Thank you so much for encouraging my voice in public affairs. Please forgive me if I've used it stridently or in fact not often enough. I'll try to do better. To my fellow actors, I would like to say thank you, thank you for making me look good. I am first, last, and always an actor. My pride in that is unbounded. Please forgive me for being a producer. I'll try to do better. Now to those of you who may have heard rumor here or there of my life in Hollywood as a single man. The poet wrote, "Only solitary men know the true joy of friendship. Others have their family, but to a solitary man his friends are everything." So I want to thank you my friends for leading me through those days and finally in fact leading me to Annette. Please forgive me for making her unavailable to your movies four times, that's four times. I would like to say I'll try to do better, but you and I know that I won't, so let's say I'll try to do less. She is my treasure. She has given me what I value most -- her love. And she has given me Kathlyn and Ben and Isabel and at the moment this much anticipated and very loved unnamed being who could actually join us any minute right here in the second row if I don't wrap this up. So I cannot imagine a public circumstance in which so many affirmations of work and life could converge at one time. Let me put it another way. As a screenwriter, I would never sit still for it. You know you can't have the husband up here getting this thing and the wife down there maybe getting that thing and she's having a baby at the same time. It doesn't work. You have to throw it out. You gotta pick one. It just...they'll never believe it. So I would say to you, don't worry. I don't ever expect another evening like this to be so full. But there are some things that really aren't going to change. They don't have to change. And please listen to me on this Kathlyn and Ben and Isabel, I know your not in bed. The things that don't have to change for us are our reliability of friendship, the sanctity of our family, and the dignity of our work. Thank you very much from way down here.

Laurence Olivier
In the great wealth, the great firmament of your nation's generosities this particular choice may perhaps be found by future generations as a trifle eccentric, but the mere fact of it . . . the prodigal, pure, human kindness of it . . . must be seen as a beautiful star in that firmament which shines upon me at this moment, dazzling me a little, but filling me with warmth of the extraordinary elation, the euphoria that happens to so many of us at the first breath of the majestic glow of a new tomorrow.

Jane Wyman
I accept this very gratefully for keeping my mouth shut for once, I think I'll do it again.

Paul Williams
I was going to thank all the little people, but then I remembered I am the little people.

Sally Field
I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!

Steven Spielberg
Oh, wow. This is the best drink of water after the longest drought of my life.

Sidney Poitier
It has been a long journey to this moment.

Whoopi Goldberg
I want to thank everybody who makes movies. . . . 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.

Jane Fonda
There's a great deal to say, but I'm not going to say it tonight.

Jessica Yu
What a thrill. You know you've entered new territory when you realize that your outfit cost more than your film.

Elizabeth Taylor
(On AIDS) Tonight I am asking for your help. I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being to prove that we are a human race. To prove that our love outweighs our need to hate. That our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame. That our sensitivity to those in need is stronger than our greed. . . . Thank you and God bless.

Michael Caine
And to Tom Cruise, for if you had won this, your asking price would have gone down so fast. Do you have any idea what supporting actors get paid? We get only one trailer, a small one, in the back ...

Jack Lemmon
There's been a lot of criticism over the years over this award, and some of that criticism has been warranted. But whether it's warranted or not, I think it's one hell of an honor, and I thank you.

D.W. Griffith
We had many worries in those days, small worries. Now you people have your worries and they are big ones. They have grown with the business ... and no matter what its problems, it's the greatest business in the world.

Steven Soderbergh
I just want to thank everyone who spends at least some part of their day creating.

Kathy Bates
And to my father ... who I hope is watching somewhere, I thank you.

Dustin Hoffman
I'm up here with mixed feelings, I have been critical of the Academy ... and for reason. I refuse to believe that I beat Jack Lemmon, that I beat Peter Sellers. I refuse to believe that Robert Duvall lost. We are part of an artistic family ... and most actors don't work, they have to practice accents while driving a taxi. And some of us are so lucky to work with writing, to work with directing. And to that artistic family that strives for excellence, none of you have ever lost, and I am proud to share this with you.

Charlie Chaplin
Words seem so futile, so feeble. You are all such lovely, beautiful people ... thank you.

Daniel Day-Lewis
You've just provided me with the makings of one hell of a weekend in Dublin.

Kirk Douglas
I see my four sons ... they are proud of the old man!

Now I really want to say something ... ah-hah!

Andy Fox has compiled an extensive list of wonderful Academy Awards speeches and moments, and I'm happy to provide them here as well ... thanks very much for your exhaustive compilation, Andy!


2001: "This moment is so much bigger than me." - Halle Berry
2001: "Two bird with one night." - Denzel Washington
2000: "I love it up here." - Julia Roberts
1999: "This is the highlight of my life." - Kevin Spacey
1998: "If Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be driving a Porsche,  living in Bel-Air, and he'd have a deal with Paramount."
- Marc Newman (screenwriter, Shakespeare in Love.)
1997: "Titanic got 14 nominations one per lifeboat." - Jim Mullen  (Entertainment Weekly.)
1996: "Show me the money." - Cuba Gooding Jr.
1995: "It's just a meat parade in front of an international audience- degrading to have actors in competition with each other." -George C. Scott
1994: I think if I'm nominated for anything next year, there'll be a wave of suicide jumpers from the third tier of the Chandler Pavilion." - Tom Hanks
1993: "I dedicate this six million who can't be watching" - Steven Spielberg
1992: "I guess when I get into the cowboy I looked enough like on to convince people that I was." - Clint Eastwood."
1991: "The stage is set for the most wide-open Oscar race in years." - Variety
1990: "I will never forget what happened here tonight.people I went to school with will never forget."- Kevin Costner
1989: "When you're lying drunk at the airport you're Irish. When you win an Oscar you are British." - Brenda Fricker
1988: "We're all a little nit autistic." - Dustin Hoffman
1987: "Along with the Oscars, the Academy is giving out a green card." - Robin Williams
1986: "I feel these are a lot of deaf people jumping up and down." - Marlee Martin
1985: "It's hard to guess who will walk away with the golden statuettes that.Herman Mankiewicz once used as door jams." - The Wall Street Journal
1984: "I got my license from the Khmer Rouge school of acting." - Dr. Haing S. Ngor
1983: "I'm going to cry because this show has been as long as my career. I have wondered for twenty-six years what this feel like."  - Shirley MacLaine
1982: "The Oscar seems to have been confused with the Nobel Peace Prize." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
1981: "Only in America could a picture of this subject and this size be made without censorship from the people who put up the money." - Warren Beatty
1980: "I would like to thank Jake La Matta, and my parents for having me, and my grandparents for having them, and everyone else that this award means anything to, and like rest of the world.  love everyone." - Robert De Niro
1979: "I do feel like the Academy like the Academy is slacking off in the class quotient. After all, I won." - Sally Field
1978: " I knew I wouldn't like The Deer Hunter. It's about two things I didn't care about Vietnam and poor people."  - Producer, Allan Carr
1977: "When you see who wins those things- or doesn't win them- you can see how meaningless this Oscar thing is." - Woody Allen
1976: "I was going to thank all the little people, but then I remembered I am the little people." - Paul William
1975: I found out that acting was hell. You spend all your time trying to do what they put people in asylums for." - Jane Fonda
1974: "The Academy Awards are obscene, dirty, and no better than a beauty contest." - Dustin Hoffman
1973: "You can imagine what a trip this is for a Jewish girl from Great Neck-I get to win an Academy Award and meet Elizabeth Taylor at the same time." - Producer Julia Phillips
1972: "I think a man who makes $2 million playing the leader of the Mafia should at least give half of it to the Indians." - Michael Caine
1971: "Tonight the Academy is honoring two films about my people, Shaft and Fiddler on the Roof." - Sammy Davis Jr.
1970: "There is no way the Academy can strike Scott's nomination for Best Actor. -Academy Awards Committee
1969: "I'm an American movie actor. I work with my clothes on. I have to. Horses are rough on your legs and your elsewheres" -John Wayne
1968: "Please be sure to read everything in the envelope carefully." - Price Waterhouse accountant (to Ingrid Bergman) "And the winner is.It's a tie!" - Ingrid Bergman
1967: "This has been a fateful week in the history of our nation, and the two-day delay of this ceremony is the Academy's way of paying our profound respect to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." - Academy President Gregory Peck
1966: "How 'bout Liz and Richard? They're a most unusual couple They're both expecting." - Bob Hope
1965: "Julie Andrews has a wonderful British strength that makes you wonder why they lost India." - Moss Hart
1964: "Say one more word and I'll scream" - Audrey Hepburn
1963: "What if eight million Negroes decide to kick in their TV screens at the moment someone else's name is called?" - Sidney Poitier
1962:  "If he (Peter O'Toole) had been any prettier it would have been Florence of Arabia." - Noel Coward
1961: "I decided it would be better to faint at home." - Sophia Loren
1960: "When Elizabeth Taylor got a hole in her throat, I canceled my plane." - Shirley MacLaine
1959: "The runway was greased for a chariot." - Variety
1958: "I came here when I was 19 and I've been here twenty years. I've had it." - Susan Hayward
1957: "My segment was six minutes in length. Unfortunately, that was also the length of Mr. Duck's bit of film, and they chose Donald Duck. You always
have to settle for less on Best Picture: Less Laughton is great/Yeah if you're voting for weight (Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, singing).
1956: "I've gone from saint to whore and to saint again all in one lifetime." - Ingrid Bergman 
1955: "Were gonna take'em all." -producer, Burt Lancaster (on Marty's nomination)
1955: I'll have to try harder next year." - Susan Hayward
1954: "This must be made of gold. It must be!" - Marlon Brando
1953: "Ladies and Gentlemen tomorrow's headlines will be made here tonight. This is news. This is movietown's election night."  - Oscar broadcast announcer
1952: "Television-that's where movies go when they die. - Bob Hope
1952: "C'mon Oscar, let's go get drunk." Bette Davis
1951: "There is a strange sort of reasoning in Hollywood that musicals are less worthy of the Academy consideration than dramas." - Gene Kelly
1950: "I have been resurrected from the dead."  - Bette Davis
1949: "Remember I had a partner." Fred Astaire
1949: "That's not what it says on the citation." - Ginger Rogers
1948: "With all the heated rivalry going on, it wouldn't be a bad idea to hold the Oscar ceremonies in a boxing ring." - Variety
1947: "We're going to the party afterward anyway. I won't be bitter."  - Rosalind Russell
1946: "I don't care if it doesn't make a nickel. I just want every man, woman and child in America to see it." - Samuel Goldwyn
1945: "My tears speak for me." - Joan Crawford
1944: Once or twice I've been described as a light comedian. I consider this the most accurate description of my abilities I've ever seen." - Bing Crosby
1943: "Awards are meaningless for actors, unless they all play the same part." - Humphrey Bogart
1942: "I admit I do have a gift for gab." - Greer Garson
1941: "Of course we fight. What sisters don't battle?"  - Olivia de Havilland
1940: "This is what old fashion bookies would call an open race" - Variety
1939: "Gone with the Wind is going to be the biggest flop in history. I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable falling on his face and not me."  - Gary Cooper
1938: "All these Oscars! Looks like Bette Davis's garage." - Bob Hope
1937: "Nobody wins two years in a row." - Paul Muni
1936: "Put on some makeup and get over here!" - MGM publicist to Luise Rainer
1935: "The casting couch? There's only one of us who ever made it to stardom without it, and that was Bette Davis." - Claudette Colbert
1934: "It's a grand and glorious feeling, but I'll be wearing the same size hat tomorrow." - Clark Gable
1932-33: "It looks like Uncle Oscar." - Margaret Herrick, Academy Librarian
1931-32: " Mr. Beery and I recently adopted children. Under the circumstances, it seems a little odd that we both given awards for best male performance of the year." - Frederic March
1930-31: "You're only as good as your last picture." - Marie Dressler
1929-30: "Novelty is always welcome, but talking pictures is just a fad."  - Irving Thalberg, MGM production chief
1928-29: There was a time in this business when they had the eyes of  the whole wide world. But that wasn't good enough for them. Oh, no! They had to have the ears of the world, too. So they opened their bug mouths and out came talk, talk, talk! - Gloria Swanson
1927-28: "Hand me now already the statuette award." - Emil Jannings

"The Academy is the League of Nations of the Motion Pictures Industry. It is our open forum where all branches can meet and discuss constructive solutions to problems with which each us confronted. In the past we have never been able to get together on a common ground and in making this possible the Academy has conferred a great service. The producer, star, featured player, cinematographer -in fact, every individual can come into the Academy with any problem or proposal and feel that all barriers are leveled, that in this open court his voice carries the same weight as that of any other person, regardless of position and standing. There is no greater force for cooperation for advancement than that offered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science." - Mary Pickford 

"I wish to take this glorious opportunity to express
my deep affection and admiration for all those
wonderful people in the motion picture business it has
been my privilege to know and admire and to call my
friends throughout the years."
- Norma Shearer

"Advice to young actors winning Oscars: Enjoy! Don't
wait years to find out what that award can give you in
comfort and confidence. As an actor gross older, no
matter how long his memory, it is hard to hold on to
that delicious feeling of his memory- of being best.
That Oscar sitting on the mantel is a good reminder. I
treasure mine for just that."
- Helen Hayes

"From my first Oscar, handed me by Douglas Fairbanks
in 1929, a small and (by today's standards) informal
family celebration, to the present worldwide interest
in Oscar presentations, the growth of the Academy
Awards proves indeed the cultural and educational
benefits of the Academy.the Supreme Court of the
Screen." - Lewis Milestone

"I have always felt proud of my Oscars and my numerous
nominations. This pride is due to the fact it was the
result of voters from the members of my own
profession. This, of course, is a great compliment for one's
work. I hope each winner of an Oscar is as thrilled as
I was when I received mine." - Bette Davis

"Prizes are given. Prizes are won. They are the result
of competition. Any way you want to look at it, from
birth to death we are competing."
My first competition. A buck meet. The three-legged
race. I won it. My next was a diving contest. I was
doing several very complicated fives badly. My friend
and competitor was diving several very dives well. She
won it. I resented deeply. But there it was. There is
a terrible agony of competition. You have to pretend
tat you don't care if you lose. We have home movies of
all those early competitions. Cry at the beginning.
Cry when you lose.
No way. Too much of a strain. I'll avoid that, but I
didn't U encountered The Super Cry.
I grew up. I went to work. And I found that I had
entered a business which has a thing called -THE
ACADEMY AWARD. People from all over the world see
different competitors do their stuff. The winning of a
prize in any department is a boost to business. The
winning of Best Picture. Best Director. Best Actor.
Best Actress. This is a Super Boost.
The effort to win votes by advertising, selling,
begging, organizing in full swing in all media. Then
the terrible Night. Telecast worldwide. All dressed
up. Here I am a competitor. And I care. I care
desperately. Will I be the one too.
Of dear me. Let's avoid that, I said to myself. So I
never went. But I had to be honest enough with myself
to wonder- what is it, Kathy? Are you afraid that you
won't win?
One year when I was not in the running myself I was
asked to present the Thalberg to Lawrence Weingarten.
I just could not in all good conscience refuse. So I
rushed on. An then I rushed off. But do you know
what-they all stood up. They stood up for me. All
those people. Those people whose votes through the
years had given me the prize. They had voted me in.
Not once, but twice and a half. They stood. They
clapped. They gave me their respect and their
affection. It was a revelation the generous heart of
the industry. The pat on the back from one's peers.
However maddening, infuriating, embarrassing and
seemingly artificial these occasions are. However
drummed up. The truth of the matter is still pure. The
Academy Awards are in all good faith. An attempt to
honor a person or a product of our industry. And they
have maintained in essence a purity, a simple- well,
This year by our vote you are the best.
Well, there must be something to it. It's gone on for
sixty years. It must be healthy.
One can quibble, How does anyone know which
performance? Which picture? It's an Art-
Well, hell-let's face it. How does anyone know
anything? It's our track meet. It's painful but it's
- Katherine Hepburn

"What can one say about the Academy Award except, "I
was so happy, excited, etc., etc., etc."
In my particular case, added o all these emotions was
utter astonishment! I was convinced that we could not
win because a comedy had never won- so convinced, that
I was actually boarding for Santa Fe Super Chief for
New York when I was whisked back to the Baltmore Hotel
to accept the Oscar while they held the train. I was
quite a scenario!!!" - Claudette Colbert

"I came to Hollywood in 1935, not to seek a career in
motion pictures but rather to accompany my husband,
Herbert Biberman, New York Theater Guild director of
Although I was already a stage actress and had played
leading roles on Broadway, I sincerely believed that I
did not belong in motion pictures.
Much to my amazement, it then happened that Mervyn
LeRoy cast me as Faith Palelogue in Anthony Adverse-
and then, to my ever-greater amazement, in 1936 I won
the first Academy Award ever given to an actress in a
supporting role.
My new career was on its way. I love the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences." - Gale Sondergaard

"The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is,
and always has been, a great stimulus and
encouragement to all involved in the film industry.
Needless to say, the highlight of my career was a
night many years ago at the old Baltimore Hotel
ballroom, when I heard a voice saying "And the winner
is - Hermes Pays."
- Hermes Pays

"The Academy Award- what shall I say? I shall jot
down, quickly, as what comes to my mind:
Still in my early twenties, only a few months in
Hollywood, I made my first film. It made me a star. It
was then I heard of "the Academy Award." What was it?
I should soon learn. I never had much thought of any
award beyond the wondrous contact and the warmth that
I was fortunate to receive from many while spending my
teens on the stage in Vienna and Berlin; my driving
force was love and enthusiasm for my work and great
hope to develop as an actress.
In my first year in Hollywood I started and finished
my second film, The Great Ziegfeld. Mr. Louis B. Mayer
did not want me to do the film: 'Anna Held is out of
it before the film is halfway through,' he said. "You
are a star now and you can't do it!" I hoped to make
something of the too-minute telephone scene. It
brought me my first Academy Award.
Immediately after, I started The Good Earth. Irving
Thalberg cast me. Mr. Mayer was against that, too:
'She had to be a dismal-looking slave and grow old;
but Luise is a young girl; we just have made her
glamorous- what are you doing?' It brought me my
second Academy Award as its best actress of the year.
It happened in two successive years.
How did I feel about it? As often in my life, big
events or importance of them are felt less at the time
than later. There was a great deal of photographing,
much glamour, more so than the 'glamour' it is
believed to be. Above all, a change of one's image
felt by others but not by oneself. One was acclaimed,
now; therefore one's work quietly. Shortly later I
left Hollywood.
I have often heard the Academy Award to be a bad
omen. I don't think it need be. Except, maybe, that
the industry seemed to feel that having on Academy
Award-winner on their hands was sufficient to overcome
bad story material as was, often, handed out
afterwards to stars under long-term contract. However,
to build anything good it needs solid material, so it
does not slip though your fingers like sand. This is
what I felt then. Now I feel that it is wonderful to
have received two Academy Awards!" - Luise Rainer

"Late in 1935 (during preparation of Mr. Deeds), the
Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences bestowed on me the dubious honor of
electing me president.
I say 'dubious' because the President would be
presiding at a deathwatch. The Academy had become the
favorite whipping boy of Hollywood. Its membership
slashed from six hundred to four hundred, its officers
to one, loyal, underpaid, executive secretary Margaret
Herrick - the Academy's alter ego. With few dollars in
its treasury- and fewer in sight- the odds were ten to
one the Academy would fold and Oscar would acquire the
patina of a collector's item.
Why? Because the polyarchic Academy - governed by
management, technicians, and creative talent- was
caught in the middle of Hollywood's first labor war
between management and talent. The producing companies
did everything short of asking for the National Guard
to prevent actors, writers, and directors from
organizing into guilds. The guilds were organized. But
their siege of company ramparts was to list five long
years- years of strife and strikes- before management
capitulated and accepted the guilds as the bargaining
agents for talent.
However, in 1935 the labor war was in full cry. Actor
Ronald Reagan, writer John Howard Lawson and director
King Vidor led the fight for their respective guilds.
Part of talent's strategy to wreck the Academy in
order to deny management the box office promotional
values of the Oscars. Oddly enough, shortsighted
company heads couldn't care less. The Academy had
failed them as an instrument of salary cuts during the
bank-closing crisis. They withdrew their memberships
and financial support, leaving the derelict
organization in the care of a few staunch
Academy-oriented visionaries dedicated to the cultural
advancement of the arts and sciences of filmmaking,
and to the continuance of the Awards- the most
valuable, but least expensive, item of worldwide
public relations ever invented by any industry.
  It is an honor to name the few unsung idealists who
crossed all economic battle lines to prevent the
destruction of Hollywood's lone bastion of culture:
Writers: Howard Estabrook, Jane Murfin, Waldemar
Young, Edwin Burke;
Producers: David O. Selznick, Darryl F. Zanuck, Sam
Briskin, Fred Leahy, DeWitt Jennings, Graham Baker;
Technicians: Nathan Levinson, John Arnold, Van Nest
Directors: Cecil B. DeMile, Frank Lloyd.
The group elected me to lead them in the Academy's
fight for survival. What motivated my instant
acceptance- pride or service? I am not sure. But I was
sure that the upcoming Academy Awards banquet of March
1936, loomed dark and discouraging; that things could
get worse before they got 'worser'  
Boycott rumors were rife. Officers of the Screen
Actors and Screen Writers Guilds sent telegrams to all
members urging them not to attend the Academy dinner,
and not to accept any Oscars.
To keep the Academy's head above water, we grabbed
at the following straws: for the first time, we
allowed films mad in England to compete for the
Oscars; we established the Supporting Actor and
Supporting Actress categories; we also established the
'Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award' for outstanding
contribution in the production of films. But our top
caper to hype the attendance was to persuade the giant
of all filmmakers, D. W. Griffith, to come out of his
mind-retired oblivion and accept from the Academy a
special statuette for his legendary pioneering in
Griffith's name was magic. The boycott fizzled. Bette
Davis was present to receive her Best Actress trophy
for Dangerous; Victor McLaglon was there to clutch a
Best Actor award for The Informer.
But neither John Ford nor Dudley Nichols showed up
for their Best Directing and Best Writing Oscars
awarded The Informer. Ford accepted the trophy later.
Nichols did not. He was quoted in a trade paper as
having said: 'To accept it would be to turn my back on
nearly a thousand members of the Writers Guild.'
By prayers and incantations, and the Board members
putting up their own money for the statuettes, plus
some fancy begging on my part (each year I had to
plead with the officers of the talent guilds to allow
me to mail Academy ballots to their Guild members) the
Academy deathwatch kept the grim reaper away until
Then came a massive transfusion of new blood. The
writers, actors, directors, having signed their newly
won basic agreements with management, returned to the
Academy fold virtually en masse. The Academy was
reorganized into a self-supporting institution
dedicated solely to cultural goals. And it was off and
running! Today its Oscars are the world's member one
news event of the year." - Frank Capra

"Being invited to add comments to the others in this
fascinating and unique book is the realization of a
lifelong dream. At long last, I take my place among a
galaxy of Oscar winners! And I consider this request
the Academy as an apology for not giving me an award
for acting.
My spectacular lack of success in winning an Oscar is
well known to be repeated here. Nonetheless, I
consider myself eminently qualified to air my thoughts
and feelings about movies because like just about
everyone else, I'm a movie fan. I love pictures.and
everything about them.making them and even more,
watching them.
Music, literature, painting, and all the others arts
have made incalculable contributions to the world. But
in my view, movies are the most influential, the most
marvelous, and the most universal art form known to
When you consider that movies are a product of this
century, the growth and accomplishments of the film
industry have been nothing less than miraculous.
Just by shelling out the price of a ticket, you can
escape from the cares and problems of real life, and
be transported to another wondrous world, a magical
world where nothing is impossible. A world inhabited
by the most diverse, the most gifted and the most
beautiful people ever assembled in such profusion,
whose only mission is to thrill, charm and entertain
The film industry has survived every change, every
crisis, and despite the inevitable prophets of doom,
movies are more alive, more innovative, and more
marvelous than ever. No other medium can match its
scope, its magnetism, or the masterful way in which it
has made come alive for us every facet of human
It is fitting that we pay this tribute to the
movies.the fabulous art that has given us great drama,
mystery, superb comedy that ahs inspired us, lifted
our spirits, and brought us all those dedicated
brilliant and beautiful people. All that and popcorn
I'm proud and privileged to have been a part of the
magical, mystical and marvelous illusion
called.movies." - Bob Hope

"I am grateful and proud to be part of the wonderful
work of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences." - Mickey Rooney

"At the time I received my Oscars, they meant a great
deal to me careerwise, and I am very grateful for
them." - Miklos Rozsa

"The nomination for my 'Mrs. Brown' in the National
Velvet brought me great joy, but as an orphan with no
studio to champion my cause, I had little hope of
winning the Oscar.
On the eve of the great day, the odds-on favorite was
Warner Bros.' Talented young starlet Ann Blyth, for
her notable performance in Mildred Pierce.
Next morning the papers reported the surprise winner:
ANNE REVERE, the talented young Warner Bros.' starlet!
The surprise, I think, doubled my pleasure." - Anne Revere

"It was war time when I messed my award. And since
metal was precious, all the winners in other then Best
Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture were given small
metal plaques. Of course I was delighted with the
honor, and I thanked everyone with a pretty little
speech. (I'm grateful now that we had no TV coverage
Over the years and after my retirement, I felt
something was lacking. I had won an Oscar- and yet I
In my book, A Life on Film. I described my feelings,
and in parentless I wrote: (Hey Academy! I would
dearly love to have a real Oscar!)
So now my I have my real Golden Boy standing on my
bookshelf beside the faded little plaque of 1942." -
Mary Astor

"Even at the age of twelve, it was an overwhelming
experience to receive and Oscar, Years later I still
feel the same way." - Claude Jarman Jr.

"Herewith- some memories:
I remember Frank Capra's face when it was announced:
'An the winner is Frank Capra!"
I remember Eric Johnston who in 1942 presented: "As
an honored guest, the distinguished Ambassador from
Japan- I mean China.'
I remember Clare Booth Luce saying as she presented
the writer's award: 'And the winner is John Husston!"
A moment later John, in accepting, said, "Thank you,
Miss Looka!"
I remember the year the program simply ran out of TV
I remember the night that Frank Lloyd and Frank Capra
were both nominated- and as the announcer said, "And
the winner is Frank.' both Franks got up. But the
winner was Lloyd.
And finally I remember when I got my Oscar. It was a
golden moment- just as golden as shining Oscar.
Warmest and best wishes."  - Dore Schary

"My thoughts for a special award for Henry V in 1947
and for Hamlet in '48 for performance and best picture
were for each and both of the most delighted kind and
my gratitude of the heartfelt fullest."
- Laurence Olivier

"To be nominated (and as many times as I have) comes
always as a surprise and with great appreciation as
one realizes that it was approved by one's own kind.
Then comes the 'day' - and winning an 'Oscar'
(whether the first, second, etc., etc. is always a
In the 'old' days there was no celebration, ball
etc., so one merely collected one's statuette and
celebrated with close friends. In my case (when I won
the first one) we met at Jimmy Wong Howe's Restaurant
(he was a great cameraman), and this is where I made
my acceptance speech." - Alexander Golitzen

"When I was making my first film in 1946, I met a dear
man named Gabe York who was in the publicity
department. I never knew his title- but he came down
on the set to talk to me, and before I knew it we were
talking about the films that had meant a great deal to
us personally, and why. There weren't a whole lot of
them- some of them were foreign, which seemed
heretical, seated as we were on the back lot of the
20th Century-Fox. But all of them had shown people as
not only fascination but valuable- that to be human
was a wonderful thing to be.
'I want to make movies that say something,' I said,
'for people to keep.'
Gabe York wore glasses that made his eyes look
enormous. 'From Hollywood?' he asked, and his eyes
looked ever bigger.
'Well,' I said, 'I can try.'
'Two years later I was sitting in my assigned seat at
the Academy Awards presentation in the old Shrine
Auditorium (which always smelled softly of elephants).
Quite early in the proceedings I heard, '.and the
winner,' spoken by Donald Crisp, 'for her role in
Gentlemen's Agreement, Celeste Holm.'
I literally could not move, the lights were so sudden
and so intense. My husband muttered, 'Get up, get up.'
I didn't, so he and the man on my right hoisted me to
my feet. I had not expected to win; Ethel Barrymore
was also in the same category.
In a dream I walked toward the stage and as I started
up the steps, I hoped I would not stumble up the
inside of my ruffled petticoat. I didn't, and I found
myself facing a huge, warm ocean of appreciation. And
then I was supposed to stay I hadn't prepared anything
because I was sure I would not. And I suddenly thought
of Gabe York.
'I thought,' I said slowly, looking for the words
from a full heart, 'that I'd already received the
greatest reward an actress can have- of being in a
picture that bring understanding, in a world that
seems to need it so much.' As I left the dazzle of the
stage, into the dark wings there was Gabe. 'You did
it!' he said.
And I leaked happy tears all over his tuxedo." -
Celeste Holm

'Winning two 'Oscars for my first commercial motion
picture is and was a thrill almost beyond description.
The Best Years of Our Lives was Hollywood's tribute to
the servicemen and women of World War II and the
awards it won reflect that feeling of rehabilitation
and the opportunity to work with disabled people in
the areas of education and employment. For all of
this, I am very grateful to the wonderful people of
the motion picture industry." - Harold Russell

"On the night I was given Oscar I tried impulsively to
express not only thanks but some honest thoughts about
the Academy system. Hardly tactful timing, perhaps. I
was to have given the longest acceptance speech ever.
It wasn't, really. It just seemed that way to a
roomful of weary listeners at midnight. However, maybe
I can claim modestly to have triggered a needed
overhaul of the Academy's program, that gradually
transformed dinner-dance evening for Industry members,
to a split-second, elaborately staged spectacular gala
for an audience of millions.
Of course I treasure my statuette. And I treasure
several nominations just as much, because I have
always thought the nominations themselves should be
considered the Awards. For actors, acting is not a
competition but a sharing and blending of experiences
and imaginings.
  I am forever proud of being part of this industry
and this Academy." - Greer Garson

"When Madame Curie received the Nobel Prize and
Churchill was knighted by the Queen, they must have
felt the same orbital elation I experienced when I won
my Oscar.
I am unashamedly conceited about it. It would be most
difficult for any visitor to my house to avoid seeing
it, shimmering its golden glow, beckoning homage like
The visitor says, 'Is that really an Oscar? And I
take it off the shelf with a Peter Sellers smirk and
condescendingly let it be handled. They weigh it and
stroke it reverently, murmuring the usual things-
'Never thought I'd hold a real it real gold,
etc.' and then it goes back in the middle of my other
But proud as I am of my Golden Globes, the New York
Film Critics' Award and others, my Oscar stand our in
Olympian detachment like a dazzling beacon to artistic
endeavor, and whenever I gaze at it I always seem to
grow a few inches taller."  - Jack Cardiff
"Oscar, Oscar, wherefore art thou, Oscar?  It's easy
to lose things when you move. I lost my Oscar. He
vanished between the van and new threshold or fell
prey to the sticky fingers of a souvenir-happy moving
man, but in wither case- gone. Getting his duplicated
was a polite hassle, complete with affidavits,
details, descriptions and seventy-five dollars.
I moved yet again, under particular horrendous
circumstances, and undid the royal blue, golden-corded
felt bag cradling Oscar's stand-in, only to watch him
crash out in two gleaming hunks- not lost or stolen
this time. Broken. Will I try, try again? Yes. Because
nothing else will be so sharply bring into focus an
emotional peak.
Through the years, awards have mushroomed as after
cloudburst, but there is only one Oscar. Belittle,
scoff at or denigrate him, as you will, when your name
comes bounding out of the microphone I defy adrenal
glands of marble not to quiver. In memoriam, I still
cringe at my acceptance mumbles and leaky eyes and at
looking fatly stuffed into a pompous navy blue lace
dress, but it's a moment impossible to plan.
The best response I can remember was Jimmy Cagney's.
He won for Yankee Doodle Dandy at last monkey-draped
Coconut Groove Awards Dinner. I can see him now,
stepping energetically up to the mike and carving the
hush neatly with: 'It's nice to know some people think
a job has been well done. 'Thank you.' Wish I'd said
- Anne Baxter

1927-28: "For the life of me I can't see what Jack
Warner can do with one of these awards. I can't say
yes." - Al Jolson

1929-30: "When a tree begins to collect blights, it
begins to wither, So does reputation- Former
postmaster general Will Hays

1930-31: "I have come to you tonight from the capital
of our country to pay my respects to the creative
minds of world's greatest and most influential
enterprise, the motion picture," - Vice President
Charles Curtis

1930-31: "...a dull evening of a nature which will
repel many a Hollywoodian next year unless memories
dim and time makes' em forget" - Variety

1931-32: "There is no power, however great, in my
branch of the motion pictures that can exert an atom
of influence beyond the making of a secret ballot." -
Lionel Barrymore

1932-33: Quotes from the incident where presenter and
host Will Rogers claimed the winner of the director
prize was Frank, not clarifify which Frank. Frank
Lloyd or Frank Capra.
"Well, well, well what do you know. I've watched this
young man for a long time. Saw him come up from the
bottom, and I mean the bottom. It couldn't have
happened to a nicer guy. Come and get it, Frank!" -
Will Rogers (referring to Frank Lloyd)
"Over here, I'm over here! - Frank Capra (thinking it
was him)
"Down in front!" anonymous ".the longest, saddest,
most shattering walk in my life" -Frank Capra

1934: "Come and get it, Frank!" - Irvin Cobb (a year
later, referring to Capra)

1935: "The sooner the Academy is destroyed the better!
You should not attend!" - Writers Guild boycott

1935: "Last year we won an armful of statuettes over
Columbia, so this year we started out not to make any
good pictures had we believe we succeeded" - Columbia
head, Harry Cohn 1935: "You don't know how lucky you
are, young lady, At your age to be where you are,
making all that money, fame and everything." - D. W.

1936: "Please keep your thank you speeches brief.
Remember, a fellow recently gave up the British Empire
in two minutes." - Host, George Jessel

1936: "My face is all red from the sun and wind." -
Luise Rainer

1936: "It is to encourage the pride, the fortitude,
the good taste and tolerance that Thalberg put into
pictures. It is to jeep permanent his message: The
star brightens the night, the laughter of children is
a message to the ear." - Frank Capra

1937: "If you've got a gold one leftover at the end of
the night. I'd like to have it." - Charlie McCarthy

1938: "Of all the noises, I think music is the least
annoying." - Presenter Jerome Kern (referring to the
music awards)

1939: "It is a tribute to a country where people are
free to honor noteworthy achievements regardless of
creed, race or color." - Fay Bainter "Hallelujah!" -
Hattie McDaniel

1940: "May I have the envelope, please" - presenters
of the 1940's presentation

1940: "There has been so much niceness here tonight
that I'm happy to say that I am entirely and solely
responsible for the success of The Philadelphia Story"
- Donald Ogden Stewart

1940: "There will be no presentation of the Thalberg
Award tonight, as the Academy did not think any
individual deserved it." - Walter Wanger

1941: "Get up there!" Olivia de Havilland (to sister
Joan Fontaine)

1942: "The leading man shortage is so great, pretty
soon we'll see Hedy Lamarr waiting to be kissed while
they put a heating pad on Lewis Stone." - Bob Hope

1944: "If you don't go you'll never hear the end of it
from me." - Bing Crosby's mother.

1944: "Crosby winning an Oscar is like hearing Sam
Goldwyn lecturing at Oxford." - Bob Hope

1945: "If your looking for the girl next door, then go
next door." - Joan Crawford.

1947: "The winner is Loretta Young" - Frederic March
(the audience stopped at the exit, on thw annoucement)

1950: "One of us is going to happy" Gloria Swanson (to
Judy Holiday)

1954: "I think he should kiss me." - Grace Kelly
(referring to Marlon Brando)

1955: "And, now a word from the Academy." Jerry Lewis
(after a long Oldsmoble commercial)

1956: "I'm very proud accept this object d'art on
behalf of Mr. Perelman who writes; he cannot be here
for a variety of reasons, all of them spicey. He's
dumbfounded, absoluetly flumoxed. He never expected
recognition for writing Around the World in 80 Days
and in fact did so on the expressed understanding that
the film would never be shown. He hopes he will be
able to live up it, or rather. to live it up. And he
says, 'Bless you all'" - Hermione Gingold (for S. J.

1957: "I was supposed ro be with him but I have a
cold." - Elizabeth Taylor

1957: "Mrs. Woodward has set Hollywood glamour back
twenty years" - Joan Crawford (on Joanne Woodard's

1957: "he'd be like his father." -Columbia exec (on
Harry Cohn's son "Don't ever say that again, I want
him to have friends!"- Harry Cohn 1958: "a major goof
in TV history" - Bob Hope on the ceremony

1959: "I felt as out of place amonf the other nominees
as Zsa Zsa Galbor at a PTA meeting." - Charlton

1959: "Welcome to Hollywood's most glamorous strike
meeting. I never thought I'd live to see the day when
Ronald Reagan was the only actor working." - Bob Hope

1959: "I am trapped downstairs in the gentlemen's
lounge. It seems I rented a faulty tuxedo. I'd like to
thank you upstairs for this great honor." - Maurice
Richlin (reading a note) 1960: "The members of the
Academy will decide which actor and actress has the
best press agent, I didn't know there was any
campaigning until I saw my maid wearing a Chill Wills
button." - Bob Hope

Wish to add a memorable acceptance speech moment which I have not included? Just drop me an e-mail at