With the 93rd Academy Awards upon us, Toastmasters gives us their pick of the funniest Oscar acceptance speeches of all time.
Throughout the history of the Academy Awards there have been notable acceptance speeches given by the recipients. Although some are heart-warming and touching, and others bordering on awkwardness, there are several that have stayed memorable due to their humour.
Sure, thanking the Academy might express sincerity and appreciation for receiving a distinguished honour like an Oscar, but the speeches that viewers will be buzzing about after this year’s Academy Awards will likely be remembered for the emotion, thoughtfulness, and perhaps humour the award winners use to engage the audience while on stage.
In advance of Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, Toastmasters International has selected the five funniest Oscar acceptance speeches in recent memory.
When Robin Williams won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Good Will Hunting in 1998, he displayed emotion and sincerity, as well as his trademark humour. The late comedian closed his speech by thanking his father, who, when Williams said he wanted to be an actor, told him, “Wonderful, just have a back-up profession like welding.”
Roberto Benigni will forever be remembered for climbing over and standing on audience seats as he made his way to the stage when he won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for Life is Beautiful in 1999. His winning speech was nearly just as high-spirited and included this memorable quip, “I would like to thank my parents in Vergaio, a little village in Italy. They gave me the biggest gift: poverty.”
For her maiden win, Julia Roberts gave us one of funniest Oscar acceptance speeches of all-time. The actress wasn’t going to let the walk-off music rush her acceptance speech as she won Best Actress for Erin Brockovich in 2001: “I have a television, so I’m going to spend some time here to tell you some things. [To orchestra conductor:] And sir, you’re doing a great job, but you’re so quick with that stick. So why don’t you sit, ’cause I may never be here again.”
After winning the Best Actress award in 2010 for her role in The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock opened her acceptance speech with clever and memorable remark, “Did I really earn this, or did I just wear you all down?”
As she accepted her third Academy Award – second for Best Actress – for her work in The Iron Lady in 2012, Meryl Streep, who holds the record for most Academy Award nominations of any actor, joked, “When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no. Come on … Her, again?’ You know. But, whatever.”