The Definitive Guide To Awards Show Speeches

Who do Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, and Daniel Day-Lewis thank most frequently? A rundown of which names you can expect to hear from the podium on Oscar night.

1. Anne Hathaway

The Associated Press / AP

Along with Daniel Day-Lewis and (it would seem) Argo, Anne Hathaway is the closest thing to a lock this awards season for her emotionally wrecked performance in Les Misérables. She stands alone, however, in producing acceptance speeches that are somehow both earnestly heartfelt and spectacularly cringe-worthy.


Highlights of whom she thanked:
• The Broadcast Film Critics Association, for spelling her name wrong in the list of nominees: “It is with an ‘e’ — it’s probably bad taste for me to point that out here. Sorry, don’t mean to be gauche.”
• Costar Hugh Jackman, as “our leader and our constant source of inspiration,” and then just a few seconds later director Tom Hooper as “our tireless captain”
• Russell Crowe, because why not?
• Everybody she’s ever met

Length: 1 minute, 18 seconds


Highlights of whom she thanked:
• Cohost Tina Fey, for the word “blerg”
• Sally Field, for “being a vanguard against typecasting” (see below)
• The crew, “who deserve a special award for pretending they like live singing at 7 a.m.”
• Tom Hooper: “I will not damage your reputation as an aloof Englishman by telling everyone that when I was crying on set, you were crying right alongside me. I won’t tell anyone that.”
• The Hollywood Foreign Press, twice

Length: 2 minutes, 7 seconds, although later she spent an additional 8 seconds during Les Misérables’ Best Picture win thanking her manager of 14 years, Suzan Bymell.


Highlights of whom she thanked:
• SAG, implied: “I’m just so thrilled I have dental.”
• Her mother, “for voting for me — at least she better’ve.”
• Her representatives: “I can’t remember any of your names right now, but I love you. Everyone at CAA!”
• Suzan Bymell, this time in her actual speech, thank goodness
• The cast of The Dark Knight Rises: “I learned so much from Dark Knight that I used in Les Miz.”

Length: 1 minute, 50 seconds

Tom Hooper, her husband (actor and occasional Ryan Gosling doppelgänger Adam Shulman), production company Working Title, and studio Universal

To Sally Field: “As the girl who started out as the princess of Genovia, I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to know that the Flying Nun grew up to be Norma Rae.”

3. Christoph Waltz

NBC, Paul Drinkwater / AP

By contrast, there is no clear front-runner for the far more competitive Best Supporting Actor category. Perhaps that’s why Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Tommy Lee Jones were no-shows to pick up their respective Critics’ Choice and SAG Awards. Only Django Unchained’s Waltz has been on hand to receive his trophy in person, but, alas, his speech was mostly a catalog of names — though, unlike many other winners, Waltz at least bothers to list both first and last names.


Highlights of whom he thanked:
• Quentin [Tarantino]: “You know that my indebtedness to you and my gratitude knows no words.”
• Co-stars Jamie Foxx, Leo DiCaprio, Sam Jackson, and Kerry Washington
• Bill Clark, first assistant director, and Jeff Dashnaw, stunt coordinator, who, as Waltz put it, “helped me out of a very tight corner and put me back up in the saddle, literally,” a reference to a broken pelvis Waltz suffered while training for the film

Length: 1 minute, 21 seconds

Quentin Tarantino, probably. Waltz appeared to thank his director twice when at the end of his speech he pointed into the audience, seemingly at Tarantino, and said, “the North Star is that one.”

5. Jennifer Lawrence

NBC, Paul Drinkwater / AP

Only one winner this year has had the stones to make fun of The Weinstein Company’s cinema svengali Harvey Weinstein: Silver Linings Playbook star Jennifer Lawrence.


Highlights of whom she thanked:
First Wives Club screenwriter Robert Harling, implied, for this inside joke: “I beat Meryl!”
• Harvey [Weinstein]: “Thank you for killing whoever you had to kill to get me up here today.”
• Her brothers, Ben and Blaine: “I wouldn’t be who I am today without you being mean to me but then really supportive and loving constantly.”

Length: 1 minute, 7 seconds


Highlights of whom she thanked:
• MTV: “I earned my SAG card when I was 14 [when] I did an MTV promo for My Super Sweet 16.
• Writer-director David O. Russell (see below)
• Harvey [Weinstein]: “I don’t even know what to say any more; you’re a rascal.”

Length: 1 minute, 28 seconds

David O. Russell, costar Bradley Cooper, Harvey Weinstein, and Lawrence’s family

To Russell: “You made a movie for your son so that he wouldn’t feel alone and so that he could feel understood. … You’ve helped more than your son.” (Russell has talked about how he chose to make Silver Linings in part because of his teenage son’s mental illness.)

7. Jessica Chastain

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Zero Dark Thirty’s star — who could win the Best Actress trophy — doesn’t lean on much humor in her speeches, preferring instead to run through a list of names and focus on her film’s cultural impact, though perhaps not the particular cultural impact you’re thinking about.


Highlights of whom she thanked:
• Broadcast Film Critics Association: “This is the first time I’ve ever talked at one of these things, and it’s awesome!”
• Mark Boal: “For writing one of the most incredible parts I’ve ever been given, a woman defined by herself and not a male counterpart.”
• Kathryn Bigelow: “In my moments of deepest doubt, you lifted me up.”
• Maya, Zero Dark Thirty’s nom de guerre for the real CIA agent who was the basis for Chastain’s character
• The hundreds of unsung heroes [in the CIA]: “Because I’m a little bit of a nerd, in the words of Brecht, ‘unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.’”

Length: 1 minute, 45 seconds


Highlights of whom she thanked:
• One of the only winners so far to thank her lawyer, Steve Warren, though with his first name only
• Mark Boal: “For writing a strong, capable, independent woman that stands on her own.”
• Kathryn Bigelow (see below)
• Her grandmother (one of the only times a winner has become noticeably choked up): “For teaching me to always believe in my dreams, and this is an absolute dream come true.”

Length: 1 minute, 41 seconds

Costar Jason Clarke, Megan Ellison (head of production company Annapurna Pictures), Amy Pascal (studio chief for Sony Pictures), Sony, Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow

To Bigelow: “You have said that filmmaking for you is not about breaking gender roles, but when you make a film that allows your character to disobey the conventions of Hollywood, you’ve done more for women in cinema than you take credit for.”

9. Hugh Jackman

Paul Drinkwater / Getty Images

Jackman’s Golden Globe for his belting, beard-y performance in Les Misérables was his best and only shot at a major trophy this season, but he spent almost all of his speech just running through a list of first names.


Highlights of whom he thanked:
• “The guy or girl who stole the wheels off my bike when I was auditioning for Les Misérables
• His wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, “the greatest woman in the world,” whom Jackman thanked for convincing him not to quit Les Miz three weeks before filming was to begin (see more below)

Length: 1 minute, 58 seconds

“Baby, I’m going to say in now in front of the entire world, thank you for always being right, baby. I love you!”

11. Daniel Day-Lewis

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Even though his speeches run the longest, unlike every other winner, iron-clad front-runner Daniel Day-Lewis eschews a laundry list of names in favor of deeply charming paeans to specific people involved with Lincoln — with a smattering of off-the-wall jokes for spice.


Highlights of whom he thanked:
• Screenwriter Tony Kushner and director Steven Spielberg, “the fearless sherpas”
• The Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Porta-Potty rental company, implied: “Just on a lighter note, you have to get a camera into the porta-cabin, because I never saw so many tuxedos in a porta-cabin. It’s just the other side of the hanger. Maybe you could do the final category, if there is one, in there, because it would really just be wonderful television, I think.”

Length: 2 minutes and 20 seconds (!)


Highlights of whom he thanked:
• Wife, Rebecca Miller: “When I go to work, Rebecca opens a window for me and I jump out into the night and hunt and scavenge. And at the end of it I come back with whatever it is and drop it like a mouse at her feet and hope so much that she’ll think I’ve done a good thing.”
• Tony Kushner (see below)
• Steven Spielberg, “a humble master with a quicksilver imagination”

Length: 1 minute, 57 seconds


Highlights of whom he thanked:
• Non-nominee Joaquin [Phoenix]: “He’s probably not looking in tonight, but … you are a remarkable actor, and I’m sorry you’re not with us this evening.”
• Leonardo DiCaprio and Liam Neeson (Neeson was originally attached to play the role of President Abraham Lincoln, and DiCaprio starred with Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York and in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can)
• John Wilkes Booth, implied: “It occurred to me that it was was an actor that murdered Abraham Lincoln, and therefore somehow it’s only fitting that now and then an actor tries to bring him back to life again.”

Length: 2 minutes, 4 seconds

Steven Spielberg and general “colleagues”

To Tony Kushner: “Every day, I have to live without the immeasurable wealth of your language, which reminds me every day of impoverishment of my own.”

13. Ben Affleck

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times / MCT

Oscar pundits have their work cut out for them, since Oscar snubee Ben Affleck has taken home all the directing prizes thus far for helming Argo. He also accepted the Best Ensemble prize at the SAG Awards.


Highlights of whom he thanked:
• “The Academy” of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which that day had snubbed him of a Best Director prize
• His agent, Patrick Whitesell, “not here tonight”
• His daughter Violet: “[She] wrote my name on my hand for luck — I don’t know how that works, but I guess it works!”

Length: 2 minutes, 47 seconds


Highlights of whom he thanked:
• His fellow nominees: “When they put your name next to the names … just read off, it’s an extraordinary thing in your life.”
• Non-nominee and director of The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson, “who I think is like Orson Welles”

Length: 2 minutes, 1 second

SAG AWARDS (For the cast of Argo, which Affleck accepted)

Highlights of whom he thanked:
• Daniel Day-Lewis, who had just won himself: “I can’t believe I’m standing in the place where Daniel Day-Lewis just was. I think maybe I’ll be a better actor just from the, like, radiation.”
• His wife, actress Jennifer Garner, “who I love”
• Their kids, “who I also love”
• Warner Bros., the studio for the film, “who I love, not quite as much”

Length: 1 minute, 30 seconds

The “people from Warner Bros.” (especially studio president Jeff Robinov and head of marketing Sue Kroll), Jennifer Garner, and his kids — though Tony Mendez (the real CIA agent Affleck played in the film), and the people in the clandestine and foreign services were mentioned almost as much

Affleck’s tribute to his longtime agent, Patrick Whitesell: “My agent … was with me when I was a nobody and then when I was a somebody and then when I was in a little bit of trouble.”

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