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Entries in Acceptance Speeches (30)

Tuesday
Jan132015

The Golden Gyllenhaals. And Final Best Actor Predictions

In the cascade of perfect smiles, smh laughter at outre jokes, and general 'oh god the camera is on me now and I don't have a script' that is awards show reaction shows you may have missed the Jake Gyllenhaal and Maggie Gyllenhaal had pride of place at Sunday's Golden Globe ceremony, and received the very first reaction shot as Tina & Amy entered to host, their joke quote, "the 72nd and final Golden Globe Awards". The very first reaction shot. Even Oprah had to settle for second billing. 

It was a good night for the Gyllenhaals. They started the festivities with family nostalgia listening to "Graceland" in the limo (as they said on the red carpet), Maggie won for Best Actress in a Television Movie or Miniseries for The Honourable Woman, Jake was a very proud sibling and a nominee, and Jake's current Broadway co-star Ruth Wilson ("Constellations") was also a winner taking Best Actress in a Drama Series for The Affair.

Maggie's acceptance speech was a beauty

I love that she doesn't even disguise that she's "complicated" which Gone Girl reminds us is a code word for "bitch." Will any of this reminder of her screen power that the industry got in The Honourable Woman transfer back to the big screen in better parts?

Even Frances McDormand vaguely put up with Maggie's speech.. well, half of it anyway. She started fanning herself at one point which looked very dismissive oncamera until we read afterwards that the air conditioning was not working in the building, which explains all of the celebrities looking like they forgot to powder before taking the stage. 

But What About Jake?
He didn't win but with Nightcrawler picking up so much steam at various guilds, it seems reasonable to expect him to show up in the final five for Best Actor. I've decided to bet big and risky on Nightcrawler in my final Oscar predictions, so I'm saying he's in.

My Final Predictions
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman
David Oyelowo, Selma
Eddie Redmayne, Theory of Everything 

Now, it is a tight race and anyone could fall out, really, with the exception of Redmayne & Keaton -- either of them missing would be a shocker. If someone does stumble my guess is that it's not Gyllenhaal since his film garnered so much surprising love late in the game, but either Oyelowo (if Selma underperforms) or *gasp* Cumberbatch... in kind of a Leo/Titanic moment. Bradley Cooper may be gaining steam with American Sniper but of the 9 performances left standing at this point (my predictions: plus Carell, Cooper, Fiennes, and Spall) Cooper's is literally the least showy. It's not too often where the least showy triumph, even if he is very good as the blindly patriotic kiling machine. But Just about the only attention-grabbing aspect of his turn is that he gained weight. He has approximately one scene you might call an 'Oscar clip'. Now, that might not stop AMPAS from nominating him if they're in a very Cooper place (Oscar, like the Emmys, does get into ruts where anything will do for certain performers) but are they? His two nominations were for super popular actors-branch obsessions with the whole cast receiving nominations. He'd have to pull this one off on his own.

Finally, my heart wants to predict Ralph Fiennes as the surprise that makes every bit of sense once it happens. But my head tells me that's entirely too much wishful thinking. The Oscars would never give me both Fiennes and Gyllenhaal. That would be too much abundance for this pundit whose taste in male actors is generally not sympatico with Oscar voters. 

Tuesday
Jan132015

Top Five Golden Globes Speeches 

Margaret with more on Sunday's Golden Globes...

Awards show speeches are weird and wonderful things. They’re awkward and rushed, they hold the weight of hundreds of peoples’ expectations, and they are bound to disappoint or offend somebody no matter what they contain.

Since the Golden Globes are the first big ceremony of awards season (People's Choice A-whats? Haven't heard of 'em), the winners have their work cut out for them to be memorable and charming and humble enough to make their new statuette the first of many.

Below we have a roundup of my picks for best movie-category speeches of the night, plus some speculation about whether they might influence the Oscar race. (For wins, not nominations, since the voting is closed and they're now set in stone.)

Honorable mention goes to Just-Keep-Simmons for his amusingly gruff speech ("I think I only have 45 seconds, so shut up").

5. Wes Anderson – Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Grand Budapest Hotel)

Oh, Wes Anderson. Never change! I mean, look at him. Look how uncomfortable he is, how his eyes are locked to his notes. Look at that slightly crooked bowtie. So many ‘um’s and ‘uh’s. He does not want to be the center of attention. If we needed any proof that he’s not the awards-campaigning type, we have it now. It’s lovely to see a Grand Budapest Hotel win, and that could mean that it's got a more solid shot at an Best Picture Oscar nomination than most of us dare hope... but then again, the HFPA often marches to the beat of their own drummer.

4. Julianne Moore – Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Still Alice)

Remember when we never got to watch Julianne win anything? Judging by her adorably delighted reaction, the thrill is a fresh one. She shares a lovely dictum from her mother (“a happy person is someone who has work and love”) and gets choked up thanking her family. On the cynical side, the speech hit all the right marks. People love their frontrunners (especially women—boo) to be humble and surprised and emotional when they win. A good move towards Oscar.

3. Michael Keaton - Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Birdman)

Sure, it’s a little long (more obvious since it came near the end of the late-running program), but he’s telling a story instead of listing off names, and in the dynastic industry that is Hollywood it’s refreshing to hear from people who were born far from the business. Also: he produced actual tears as he choked out a touching tribute to his son (“Two things I wasn’t gonna do—cry, and give air quotes—damn”), and we all know Oscar loves a good manful cry. This may have pushed him into winner territory.

2. Patricia Arquette - Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Boyhood)

The win was an expected one, but it was no less enjoyable for that. She’s concentrating so hard on getting all her written words out (“Sorry I’m the only nerd with a piece of paper”), but you can just see the immense feeling threatening to bubble out as she gives sweet, genuine thanks to her movie family. It’s clear that the role and the film mean very, very much to her. No major shakeups from this speech; it seems pretty clear she’s headed straight to the Dolby podium.

1. Common and John Legend - Best Original Song in a Motion Picture (Selma)

Potent, stirring, beautifully put.  What every awards speech should be if it possibly can. Common did almost all of the talking, more about Selma itself than the winning song, and put the focus back where it should be: “Selma has awakened my humanity… Selma is now.” If there’s any justice (there isn’t), this would be making the rounds among all the people crying “historical inaccuracy!!” and giving them something else to think about. Good for their awards chances as songwriters, good for the film as a whole. Bonus points for making Oprah cry. 

What were your favorite speeches of the night? Who didn't win that you'd like to hear a speech from soon?

Friday
Mar072014

Monologue Special: Four Acceptance Speeches

In the Monologue series (usually on Mondays, oops) we opine on those rare onscreen moments when an actor gets a whole chunk of lines to run with. It's rarer than you'd think unless you're dealing with a stage adaptation that they haven't worried about "opening up".

Not so on Oscar night where each winner gets to speak without interruption unless the "stick man" grows impatient. Thankfully, at the 86th Oscars, they didn't play people off. The Academy producers rarely show common sense in this regard so this was a special treat. For years they've misunderstood the entire appeal of their broadcast. But think of it: What is an awards show without the spectacle of ego, wit, nerves, emotion, gratitude and body language of the acceptance speech? The acceptance speech is to awards shows, what setpieces are to action films, love scenes are to romantic drama, and what song & dance is to musicals. Without the speeches, you'd be left with haphazard montages celebrating random themes, context free fashion parades the likes of which we haven't seen since they stopped interjecting them into movies, and an Ellen DeGeneres comedy show. And nobody wants those things. Or, okay we do but maybe not together and definitely not without context!  So all praise the acceptance speech.

I would like to salute three people and chastise a fourth as quickly as I can -- which is not quickly, I know. shut up! -- after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb202014

Acceptance Speech Nerdgasm & Oscar Party Tiebreakers

who will be in a group photo THIS year? And will they look as much like the top of a wedding cake as this quartet did?What will Matthew McConaughey say first after he wins the Oscar? I mean after "all right all right all right". Statistics suggest that he'll either thank the Academy or launch right into the Leto or Vallée appreciation. (Or maybe DiCaprio or Dern will win in a shocking upset)

Jennifer Lawrence started her speech at the last Oscars with "This is nuts" and if she wins again over Lupita  'this is nuts' won't even begin to describe it. If you want a fun tiebreaker for your Oscar party prediction pool, go with the speeches!

Four Tie-Breaker Questions: 

1 "Who will forget a totally key person?"
(JLaw forgot her director last year!)
2 "Which of the acting winners will thank the most people by name?"
(Hathaway rattled off 23 names last year)  
3 "Will anyone thank God?" Other than their God
(i.e. the director)  
4 "How many of the four acting winners will get a standing ovation?"
(this is actually harder to predict than you'd think because sometimes who gets one and who doesn't is confusing when you're in the living room and not in the Kodak)

Over at Slate I've updated my massive acceptance speech analysis project. Even if you've seen it before, look again because I die for those interactive graphics they include. They are so fun to play with and I'm super proud of this now annual tradition.

Monday
Feb172014

All the BAFTA Acceptance Speeches

I would like to thank the academy... the audiences... the clipreels... the cast and crew... the parents of the cast and crew... the podium... the microphones... the cameras... the gown-makers... and anyone or anything else that made awards shows and acceptance speeches possible. My deepest gratitude...

Sincerely, Awards Show Addict

Saturday
Feb012014

Maximillian Schell (1930-2014)

The most famous Austrian born actor prior to Schwarzenegger, and Oscar's favorite Austrian/Swiss actor ever, died overnight at 83. Maximilian Schell film debut came with the German anti-war film  Kinder, Mütter und ein General (Children, Mother, and the General) but it wasn't long before Hollywood came calling. 

He won a role supposedly through a misunderstanding/accident in the Brando/Clift vehicle Young Lions (1958). Global fame was just a few years away when he co-headlined the mega-star cast of the seminal Oscar Bait giant Judgement at Nuremberg (about Nazi war crime trials) with Hollywood legend Spencer Tracy and they were both were nominated for Best Actor - it's a oft-repeated fallacy of modern Oscar campaigning that people say that splits your vote and prevents you from winning; see also Amadeus. Schell also won the Golden Globe for that film. (As Rhett from Dial M for Movies pointed out on Twitter this morning, his death makes William Shatner (!!!) the sole surviving credited cast member from the courtroom classic)

Schell was quite gracious in his Oscar win and his acceptance speech is well worth watching. I'd argue he was fully aware of why he won ("honoring the movie"*) and I love that he doesn't do just the usual cheek kiss but actually a little bow/handkissing...as diva Joan Crawford warrants. 

Schell had a fine and long run as an actor with two more nominations following his win for The Man in the Glass Booth (1975) and Julia (1977 -- and yet another example of a double nomination in the same category. His co-star Jason Robards won that time). He won his second Golden Globe as recently as 1994 for a TV miniseries and a Lifetime Achievement Bambi in Germany just 5 years ago, which coincidentally was the same ceremony wherein Christoph Waltz, a clear modern equivalent of Austrian/Oscar love, won for Inglourious Basterds.

Schell's talents were many, though, and also behind the camera. He turned to filmmaking within a decade of winning Best Actor. His first two feature films First Love (1970) and The Pedestrian (1973) were both nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category for Switzerland and West Germany respectively. And then his first documentary Marlene (1984) which was about his legendary Nuremberg co-star, was also nominated in its category. That's a lot of awards love and a long and full career worth remembering. 

*Judgement at Nuremberg couldn't really win much elsewhere. 1961 was the year of one of Oscar's true phenomenons. West Side Story made nearly a clean sweep of its nominations winning 10 of its 11 Oscar nominations! Nuremberg only bested it in the Adapted Screenplay category where musicals have historically had a very hard time winning. Only two have ever managed: Going My Way (1944) and Gigi (1958).