The best Oscar speeches ever, ranked

The speeches are arguably the most memorable parts of any Oscar ceremony. More than the wins themselves, the speeches are what people talk about the next day. We can hate the Academy for its decisions, but if the winner gives a worthy speech, we might forget our disdain. A great Oscar speech can make or break a ceremony. pretty great, and we might consider the whole thing a win, even if the Academy’s picks leave us scratching our heads.

Throughout its 95-year history, from the 1927 Oscars to the 2023 Oscars, the ceremony has had many incredible speeches. From the hilarious to the inspirational, from the socially conscious to the straight-forward, these speeches have become almost as iconic as the actors delivering them and, in some cases, more famous than the wins themselves. Indeed, they have entered the lexicon of pop culture, forming important pieces of cinematic history.

7. Sally Field, Best Actress (1985)

You like it… you know how it goes. In 1985, Sally Field won her second Academy Award for her work in the emotional drama Places in the Heart. Playing a struggling widow who faces everything from a tornado to the KKK, Field delivered an honest and sympathetic portrayal of resilience against all odds. Her Oscar win was no surprise, but her speech certainly was.

An ecstatic Field took the stage and delivered a tearful and breathless speech, thanking her co-stars and her family. Most notably, Field thanked the Academy, stating that all she wanted was their respect. Thus, awarding her a second Oscar, the notoriously elitist Academy “liked her.” It was a refreshingly honest and unabashed response, and while many were critical of her candor, time has been very kind to this now iconic speech.

6. Michael Moore, Best Documentary (2003)

Michael Moore won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for the 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine. The film is an in-depth exploration of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and a scathing examination of the effects and causes of violence in the US and abroad.

Bowling for Columbine was already an intensely political documentary, so when Moore took the stage, most expected him to make a statement. Accompanied by his running mates, Moore criticized then-President George W. Bush, calling him a “fake president” and condemning the war in Iraq. Moore faced loud “boos” from the crowd as he continued his impassioned speech, crying, “shame on you Mr. President” and bringing the Pope and the Dixie Chicks into the mix. The reaction to the speech was polarizing at the time, but it has aged like fine wine.

5. Marion Cotillard, Best Actress (2008)

Everything, and I mean everything, about Marion Cotillard’s Oscar win is incredible. Her genuinely shocked reaction to hearing her name. her nominees’ excitement when they heard Cotillard announced as the winner. her stunning Jean Paul Gaultier dress. Everything fell into place to allow her to deliver one of the most memorable, serious and uplifting speeches in the long and sordid history of the Oscars.

A visibly shocked Cotillard arrived on stage, where Forest Whitaker presented her with the statuette. Afterwards, Cotillard thanked her director for changing her life. With her voice already breaking and her hands shaking, the French actress struggled to find the words to express her confusion and gratitude. He ended by saying that “there really are some angels in this town,” which drew a huge reaction from the audience at the Dolby Theatre.

4. Olivia Colman, Best Actress (2019)

The mighty Olivia Colman took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her stunning performance in George Lanthimos’ historical dark comedy. The favorite. Coleman combined vulnerability and bite in her take on Queen Anne of England, giving a performance that ranks right up there with the Best Actress winners of the 2010s. The 2019 Best Actress race was one for the ages, with Coleman facing Glenn Close. In the end, Colman prevailed and the reaction footage from her candidates is a thing of beauty.

An emotional Colman arrived on stage, stating how surreal the experience was. She followed up with a delightfully rambunctious speech where she recognized Lanthimos and the film’s cast and crew, talked about her previous job as a cleaner, thanked her husband and said Close, Sam Rockwell, Frances McDormand and Lady Gaga. Coleman is an extremely spontaneous and genuine woman who can make the phone book funny with her comedic timing. However, her speech was truly humble, making her look like your best friend won an Oscar. you couldn’t help but cheer her on.

3. Gerda Weissman Klein, Best Documentary Short (1996)

Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue presented the Oscar for Best Documentary Short at the 1996 Academy Awards. The winner was One Survivor remembers, Kary Antholis’ chilling documentary about Gerda Weissman Klein’s ordeal as a prisoner of the Holocaust. The film is a harrowing but ultimately rewarding experience, and both Antholis and Weissman Klein took the stage to accept the award.

After Antholis finished his speech, Weissman Klein took the stage and expressed a profound and deeply moving reflection on what it means to be alive. Weissman Klein’s speech was haunting, moving and triumphant, an honest and provocative meditation on what a privilege it is to simply be alive. By the time it was over, there wasn’t a dry eye in Dorothy Chandler’s booth.

2. Ruth Gordon, Supporting Actress (1969)

The one and only Ruth Gordon won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1969 for her performance in the horror film. Rosemary’s Baby. It’s not always that the Academy recognizes horror. It’s even rarer to recognize a role as eccentric as Minnie Castevet. However, for once, Academy voters thought outside the box and honored Gordon’s incredible performance.

The veteran actress strolled happily on stage, wearing a dress that might have looked right at home on a 2022 catwalk, but was probably rather unorthodox for 1969. Gordon then delivered a completely hilarious speech that he never tried to hide the honor of holding the golden statuette. Gordon closed her speech by saying, “please, forgive me” to all the voters who he did not do it vote for her. Few actors could have pulled it off, but then again, Gordon wasn’t like most actors.

1. Louise Fletcher, Best Actress (1976)

Louise Fletcher gives one of her greatest performances of all time in Milos Forman’s 1975 drama Cuckoo’s Nest, a film that has gone down in history as one of the greatest Best Picture winners. The actress delivers a chilling performance as the evil Nurse Ratched, becoming one of cinema’s most enduring and iconic villains. Fletcher’s work earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1976, and few times has the award been more deserved.

Taking the stage, Fletcher delivered a speech that was equal parts funny, honest and deeply emotional. The actress opened with a joke, graciously thanked her director, producers and co-stars, and even cracked a second joke. However, the highlight of her speech came in the third act, when she thanked her parents, who were both Deaf, using sign language. As her voice broke, Fletcher thanked her mother and father in what remains arguably the most heartfelt moment in Oscar speech history. Simple yet deeply moving, Fletcher’s speech lives on forever.

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