Acceptance Speeches: Part 1

Posted on February 10, 2011

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Last week, I saw the Screen Actors Guild award ceremony and I have to say this: Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech was simply the best part of the show — her shock at winning the award, her joyous sprint to the stage, the big kiss she planted on Ralph Fienness, and finally, the speech.

The speech was a class act. It combined conceit and self-depreciation is equal parts. Only Meryl, an acting legend in her own lifetime and perhaps, the only female actor who can boast of such an daunting body of work, could have delivered it.

Here’s the transcript; but you have to watch it to see how wonderful it was.

Thank you everybody! I didn’t even buy a dress! [Steps out from behind the podium] I’m really, really, really shocked! And even though awards mean nothing to me anymore… [Wild applause from the audience] … I’m really happy!

I wanna thank, oh so many people, Miramax, Daniel Battsek, and especially Scott Rudin who just goes out of his way to find interesting things for everybody to do – especially the girls. And, can I just say, there is no such thing as THE best actress. You know, there is no such thing as THE greatest living actress. I am in a position where I have secret information… you know, that I know this to be true. I am so in awe of the work of the women this year — nominated, not nominated — so proud of us girls. And everybody wins when we get parts like this. Thank you to John Patrick Shanley for writing this amazing piece. Thank you to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is just the most fun to work with and the most.. he’s just such a great example to all of us of how to live your work with integrity and imagination, every time, every time out! Thank you to the glorious Amy Adams, so funny, so real. The gigantically gifted Viola Davis….My God!! somebody give her a movie! Oh, wow, I’m sure I’ve forgotten everybody, Joseph Foster, all the kids, Helen Stenborg, Alice Drummond, all the cast. Thank you to the sisters of Charity, thank you sister Peggy, big hug everybody there. Your love and your work is so inspiring, was so inspiring to all of us. Okay, I gotta get off, but thank you so much. I really do appreciate this. Thank you actors! Love you!

Another of my favourite acceptance speeches comes from Emma Thompson at the Golden Globes for best adapted screenplay for Sense and Sensibility.

This is a classic:

Thank you very much. Good Heavens. Um, I can’t thank you enough, Hollywood Foreign Press, for honoring me in this capacity. I don’t wish to burden you with my debts, which are heavy and numerous but, um, I think that everybody involved in the making of this film knows that we owe all our pride and all our joy to the genius of Jane Austen. And it occurred to me to wonder how she would react to an evening like this…

[Puts down statue on stage, reads paper]

And this is what I came up with.

Four a.m., having just returned from an evening at the Golden Spheres, which despite the inconveniences of heat, noise and overcrowding was not without its pleasures. Thankfully, there were no dogs and no children. The gowns were middling. There was a good deal of shouting and behavior verging on the profligate, however, people were very free with their compliments and I made several new acquaintences. There was Lindsay Doran of Mirage, wherever that might be, who’s largely responsible for my presence here, an enchanting companion about whom too much good cannot be said. Mr. Ang Lee, of foreign extraction, who most unexpectedly appeared to understand me better than I understand myself. Mr. James Shamis, a most copiously erudite person and Miss Kate Winslet, beautiful in both countenance and spirit. Mr. Pat Doyle, a composer and Scot, who displayed the kind of wild behavior one has learned to expect from that race. Mr. Mark Kenton, an energetic person with a ready smile who, as I understand it, owes me a great deal of money. [Breaks character, smiles] TRUE!! [back in character] Miss Lisa Hanson of Columbia, a lovely girl and Mr. Garrett Wiggin, a lovely boy. I attempted to converse with Mr. Sydney Pollack, but his charms and wisdom are so generally pleasing, that it proved impossible to get within ten feet of him. The room was full of interesting activity until 11 p.m. when it emptied rather suddenly. The lateness of the hour is due, therefore, not to the dance, but to waiting in a long line for a horseless carriage of unconscionable size. The modern world has clearly done nothing for transport.

P.S. Managed to avoid the hoyden Emily Thompson, who has purloined my creation and added things of her own. Nefarious Creature!

Thank you.

Just love these ladies!

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