Why you should care
Because we know you can give a better acceptance speech.
We wait with baited breath to see who will nab the Academy’s golden nods. The ceremony rarely heads into the credits without a few good surprises. But, without fail, the next day’s watercooler talk revolves around the winners and what they had to say onstage with that golden statuette firmly in hand.
Over the years, we’ve heard winners get personal, poetic and sometimes political, thanks to a tradition started by Marlon Brando back in 1973 when he refused to accept an Oscar and instead used his moment in the sun to highlight the plight of Native Americans. Winners have tripped and tangoed onto the stage. They’ve grabbed their Oscars, racing to the mic, and one even grabbed the announcer — who could forget Adrien Brody’s exuberance as he folded Halle Berry into his arms for a romantic (and likely unwelcome) kiss in 2003? Winners have shed buckets of tears (but probably none more so than Gwyneth Paltrow in 1999); screamed odes of joy; thanked God and their moms and dads, siblings, producers, directors, fellow actors, loved ones and probably, soon, their Uber drivers.
Some speeches have helped us dream of a better tomorrow — of a world in which people of color and women are afforded equal chances (and pay) to shine in any field they choose. Others have highlighted societal wrongs, misplaced fear and dangerous hatred — thank you, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Chris Rock (his was an opening monologue, but still, it mattered). Sometimes the winners’ words, delivered within 45 seconds before the music pipes up, make us think, laugh, cringe and even cry.
And sometimes the speeches just … suck. How many times have you wondered what you would say if called onstage as the “best ____”? Would you cry, kiss a baby, kiss Halle Berry? Would you trip on the stairs going up, choke or forget your husband’s name? Or would you get an ovation for shining a spotlight on a charitable cause or a political plea?
We at OZY believe most people, if given the opportunity, would shine, and maybe even brighter than Hollywood stars. So we put it to the test on the streets of New York, and here’s what our OZ-car winners had to say.