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10 Top Oscar Speeches Of All Time

10 min


We love to watch our celebrity performing in unscripted moments, and there is no better place than Oscar ceremony to see our beloved stars amidst stream of tears, epitome of euphoria and flying kisses to the audience present. The lucky winners of Academy awards have always entertained us with the unscripted emotional moments. Ahead of the 88th Academy awards which scheduled to electrify our 28th February evening from the decorated stage of Dolby Theater, Hollywood, let’s brows through the by lanes of Oscar history to read and hear the most memorable acceptance speeches of all time.

After watching the Award show and reading the list of winners, the Oscars fades into the universe of our memory. But what remains, forever inscribed in the memory are words, memorable expressions spoken by and emotional gestures formed by winners of the night: unscripted moments, big surprises, long due awards, historical and legendary recipients of the Oscars. We have scanned through memorable Oscar acceptance speeches and zeroed on the top 10 list. Our selection criteria include spontaneity, triumphant emotional outpouring, thankfulness and the deep sense of achievement of the lucky winners. Here we summarize some of unforgettable and the most memorable Oscar acceptance speeches. And the Oscar goes to…..

10 Top Oscar Speeches Of All Time

1. Cuba Gooding, Jr.

  • The award: Actor in a Supporting Role
  • In the year: 1996 69th Academy Awards
  • For Film: Jerry Maguire

The original rush: “I know I have a little bit of time so I’m gonna rush and say everybody, and you cut away, I won’t be mad at you. Tom said don’t forget to thank your wife. I will never forget to thank my high school sweetheart and the mother of my children, Spencer and Mason. I love you, Sara. And my parents who are here, Shirley and Cuba the first. And… God, I love you. Hallelujah. Thank you, Father God, for putting me through what you put me through, but I’m here and I’m happy. I just want to…  Oh, here we go… Okay, the studio, I love you. And Cameron Crowe and… Tom Cruise! I love you, brother! I love you, man! Derek Brose, Shawn Suttles, Keith Butler, all my behind-the-scenes crew. Regina King, I love you! You did a great job when we made the movie! Everybody involved with the movie! [Loud cheering begins.] I love you! Oh my goodness! Here we are! I love you but keep going. 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! I love you! …Everybody involved!”

2. Halle Berry

  • The award: Actress in a Leading Role
  • In the year: 2001 74th Academy Awards
  • For film: Monster’s Ball

It’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color: “Oh my God. Oh my God. I’m sorry. This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I’m so honored. I’m so honored. And I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which His blessing might flow.

I want to thank my manager, Vincent Cirrincione. He’s been with me for twelve long years and you fought every fight, and you loved me when I’ve been up but more importantly you’ve loved me when I’ve been down. You have been a manager, a friend and the only father I’ve ever known. Really. And I love you very much. I want to thank my mom who has given me the strength to fight every single day to be who I want to be and to give me the courage to dream, that this dream might be happening and possible for me. I love you, Mom, so much. Thank you, my husband, who is just a joy of my life. And India, thank you for giving me peace because only with the peace that you’ve brought me have I been allowed to go to places that I never even knew I could go. Thank you. I love you and India with all my heart.

I want to thank Lions Gate. Thank you, Mike Paseornek, Tom Ortenberg, for making sure everybody knew about this little tiny movie. Thank you for believing in me. Our director Marc Forster, you’re a genius. You’re a genius. This moviemaking experience was magical for me because of you. You believed in me, you trusted me and you gently guided me to very scary places. I thank you. I want to thank Ivana Chubbuck, I could have never figured out who the heck this lady was without you. I love you. Thank you. I want to thank Lee Daniels, our producer. Thank you for giving me this chance, for believing that I could do it. And now tonight I have this. Thank you.

I want to thank my agents. CAA, Josh Lieberman especially. I have to thank my agents. Kevin Huvane, thank you. Thank you for never kicking me out and sending me somewhere else. Thank you. Um… I, I, I, who else? I have so many people that I know I need to thank. My lawyers! Neil Meyer, thank you. Okay, wait a minute. I got to take… seventy-four years here! I got to take this time! I got to thank my lawyer Neil Meyer for making this deal. Doug Stone. I need to thank lastly and not leastly, I have to thank Spike Lee for putting me in my very first film and believing in me. Oprah Winfrey, for being the best role model any girl can have. Joel Silver, thank you. And thank you to Warren Beatty. Thank you so much for being my mentors and believing in me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

3. Robin Williams

  • The award: Actor in a Supporting Role
  • In the year: 1997 70th Academy Awards
  • For film: Good Will Hunting

“Thank you. Ah, man! This might be the one time I’m speechless. Thank you so much for this incredible honor. Thank you for putting me in a category with these four extraordinary men. Thank you, Ben and Matt — I still want to see some ID. Thank you, Gus Van Sant, for being so subtle you’re almost subliminal. I want to thank the cast and crew, especially the people of South Boston — you’re a can of corn, you’re the best. I want to thank the Meshpucha Weinstein. Mazel tov! And I want to thank Marsha for being the woman who lights my soul on fire every morning. God bless you. And most of all, I want to thank my father, up there, the man who when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said, “Wonderful, just have a back-up profession like welding.” Thank you. God bless you.”

4. Angelina Jolie

  • The award: Actress in a Supporting Role
  • In the year: 1999, 72nd Academy Awards
  • For film: Girl, Interrupted

“God, I’m surprised nobody has ever fainted up here. I’m, I’m in shock and I’m so in love with my brother right now. He just held me and said he loved me and I know he’s so happy for me. And thank you for that. And thank you to Columbia. Winona, you’re amazing and thank you for supporting all of us through this. And all the girls in this film are amazing, and Whoopi, everybody, and my family for loving me. Janeen Schreyer and your sister Michelle — Michelle, we love you. Geyer Kosinski. My mom, who is the most brave, beautiful woman I’ve ever known. And my dad, you’re a great actor but you’re a better father. And Jamie, this is, you’re just, I have nothing without you. You are the strongest, most amazing man I’ve ever known and I love you. And thank you so much.”

5. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon

  • The award: Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen)
  • In the year: 1997, 70th Academy Awards
  • For film: Good Will Hunting

The duo speech: “I just said to Matt, losing would suck and winning would be really scary. It’s really, really scary. We’re just really two young guys who were fortunate enough to be involved with a lot of great people whom it’s incumbent upon us — there’s no way we’re doing this in less than twenty seconds — upon whom it’s incumbent of us to thank. Harvey Weinstein, who believed in us and made this movie. Gus Van Sant, for brilliant direction. Robin Williams, who delivered such great lines. Minnie Driver, whose performance was brilliant. Stellan Skarsgard, who was great. (Your brother.) My brother Casey, who’s brilliant in the movie. (Cole Hauser.) Cole Hauser. My mother (Jon Gordon) and Matt’s mother, (my mom) the most beautiful women here. (My dad right over there. Jack said hi to you. Alright!) Shhh… (Jon Gordon from Miramax.) Jon Gordon. Chris Moore (Chris Moore!), who produced the movie (Chris Moore!). Patrick Whitesell, the best agent in Hollywood! (Yeah! Patrick Whitesell!) And Cuba Gooding, for showing us how to give [an] alright acceptance speech! (All our friends and family! And everybody back in Boston watching us tonight!) And thank you so much to the city of Boston… And I know we’re forgetting somebody. (Whoever we forgot we love you! We love you!) Thank you! Thank you so much!”

More on the Oscars: 15 Exciting Oscar Records For Movie Lovers

6. Tom Hanks

  • The award: Academy Award for Best Actor
  • In the year: 1993, 66th Academy Awards
  • For film: Philadelphia

The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels: “Here’s what I know. I could not be standing here without that undying love that was just sung about by, not Bruce, but Neil Young. And I have that in a lover that is so close to fine, we should all be able to experience such heaven right here on earth. I know also that, I should not be doing this, I should not be here, but I am because of the union of such filmmakers as Ed Saxon, Ron Nyswaner, Kristi Zea, Tak Fujimoto, Jonathan Demme — who seems to have these attached to his limbs for every actor that works with him of late. And a cast that includes Antonio Banderas, who, second to my lover, is the only person I would trade for. And a cast that includes many other people, but the actor who really put his film image at risk, and shone because of his integrity, Mr. Denzel Washington, who I really must share this with.

I would not be standing here if it weren’t for two very important men in my life, so… two that I haven’t spoken with in awhile, but I had the pleasure of just the other evening. Mr. Rawley Farnsworth, who was my high school drama teacher, who taught me to act well the part, there all the glory lies. And one of my classmates under Mr. Farnsworth, Mr. John Gilkerson. I mention their names because they are two of the finest gay Americans, two wonderful men that I had the good fortune to be associated with, to fall under their inspiration at such a young age. I wish my babies could have the same sort of teacher, the same sort of friends.

And there lies my dilemma here tonight. 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, common sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all and was written down on paper by wise men, tolerant men, in the city of Philadelphia two hundred years ago. God bless you all. God have mercy on us all. And God bless America.”

7. Meryl Streep

  • The award: Actress in a Leading Role
  • In the year: 2012, 84th Academy Awards
  • For film: The Iron Lady

The infinity: “Oh my god. Oh, c’mon! Oh! Alright. Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you. I — when they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, “Oh no! Oh, c’mon why? Her? Again?” You know? But, whatever.

First I’m going to thank Don, because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech they play him out with the music, and I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives you’ve given me. And now secondly, my other partner. Thirty-seven years ago, my first play in New York City, I met the great hairstylist and makeup artist Roy Helland. And we worked together pretty continuously since the day we clapped eyes on each other. His first film with me was “Sophie’s Choice,” and all the way up to tonight when he won for his beautiful work in “The Iron Lady” thirty years later. Every single movie in between. And I just want to thank Roy, but also I want to thank — because I really understand I’ll never be up here again. I really want to thank all my colleagues, all my friends. I look out here and, you know, I see my life before my eyes: my old friends, my new friends. And really, this is such a great honor, but the thing that counts the most with me is the friendships and the love and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together. My friends, thank you, all of you, departed and here, for this, you know, inexplicably wonderful career. Thank you so much. Thank you.”

8. Anna Paquin

  • The award: Actress in a Supporting Role
  • In the year: 1993, 66th Academy Awards
  • For film: The Piano

The cutest: I’d like to thank the Academy for the honor of letting me be here today. I’d like to thank Jane, Jan and Holly for making this all possible. I’d like thank Eddie Campbell, Pat Quirke, and Beanie for taking such good care of me during the making of the film.

9. Marlon Brando

  • The award: Academy Award for Best Actor
  • In the year: 1954, 27th Academy Awards
  • For film: On the Waterfront

The shorter speech: “It’s much heavier than I imagined. I… gosh, I had something to say and I can’t remember what I was gonna say for the life of me. I don’t think that ever in my life have so many people been so directly responsible for my being so very, very glad. It’s a wonderful moment and a rare one and I’m certainly indebted. Thank you.”

10. Sandra Bullock

  • The award: Actress in a Leading Role
  • In the year: 2009 82nd Academy Awards
  • For film: The Blind Side

Meryl, you know what I think of you, and you are such a good kisser: “Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down? I would like to thank the Academy for allowing me in the last month to have the most incredible ride, with rooms full of artists that I see tonight and that I’ve worked with before and I hope to work with in the future, who inspire me and blaze trails for us. Four of them, that I’ve fallen deeply in love with, I share this night with and I share this award with. Gabby, I love you so much. You are exquisite. You are beyond words to me. Carey, your grace and your elegance and your beauty and your talent makes me sick. Helen, I feel like we are family, through family, and I don’t have the words to express just what I think of you. And Meryl, you know what I think of you, and you are such a good kisser.

I have so many people to thank for my good fortune in this lifetime, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I know. To the family that allowed me to play them, the Tuohy family. I know they’re in here and you’ll probably hear her in a minute… Maybe not. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to the family that made this film, that gave me the opportunity to do something different: John Lee Hancock, Gil Netter, Alcon, Warner Bros., the actors. Everyone who’s shown me kindness when it wasn’t fashionable, I thank you. To everyone who was mean to me when it wasn’t… like George Clooney threw me in a pool years ago. I’m still holding a grudge.

But there’s so many people to thank; not enough time. So I would like to thank what this film was about for me, which are the moms that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from. Those moms and parents never get thanked. I, in particular, failed to thank one. So… if I can take this moment to thank Helga B. for not letting me ride in cars with boys till I was eighteen, ’cause she was right; I would’ve done what she said I was gonna do. For making me practice every day when I got home, piano, ballet, whatever it is I wanted to be. She said to be an artist you had to practice every day. And for reminding her daughters that there’s no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation, that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love. So, to that trailblazer who allowed me to have that, and this, and this, I thank you so much for this opportunity that I share with these extraordinary women, and my lover Meryl Streep. Thank you.”

More on the Oscar History: 25 Interesting Oscar Records

Record Courtesy: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences