Monday, February 28, 2011

The Oscars' Speech: acceptances from the 83rd Academy Awards

It's finally over with. The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony last night was actually shorter than usual, yet had everyone complaining that it felt long. James Franco is back to school and people are wondering why he seemed so lifeless and detached. Kirk Douglas was either delightful or dreadful, as was Melissa Leo who managed to slip in the Academy Awards' first "fuck" on camera. Christian Bale either forgot his wife's name or was overcome by emotion.

Overall, there weren't too many surprises, though the wins by Tom Hooper and Wally Pfister caught some off guard. The King's Speech won the big prizes for Best Picture, Director, Actor and Original Screenplay but didn't get quite as many as I expected, thanks to some undeserved wins by Alice In Wonderland and the score for The Social Network. (As a musician, that one bugged me. I love Nine Inch Nails, but those guys admitted that they just wrote a bunch of assorted cues for the film and just let the editors spot them, and were surprised how the music was used).

To add insult to injury, Alice in Wonderland Costume Designer Colleen Atwood read in a monotone a long list of people to thank. But not all of the speeches were a bore. Some were quite memorable.

Aaron Sorkin was articulate as always though sure enough he got very wordy and was played off by the orchestra. David Seidler was concise and quite funny. Just as winning producer Scott Rudin did three years ago when he won for No Country For Old Men, producer Iain Canning gave a shout out to his boyfriend when accepting the Best Picture Award at the end of the night.

Here are the highlight speeches from last night, and an extended version of the auto-tune movie clip by the Gregory Brothers.

Best Supporting Actress, Melissa Leo
Oh my, oh my God. Oh wow really, really, really, really, really, truly wow. I know there's a lot of people that said a lotta real real nice things to me for several months now, but I'm just shaking in my boots here. Ok, alright. Thank you David O. Russell. I want to thank the actors, Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, he might run out for a second, Amy, my sweet sister Adams, Jack, our lovely daughters. OK. Yeah, I am kind of speechless. Golly sakes, there's people up there too. When I watched Kate two years ago, it looked so [EXPLETIVE DELETED]. Alice Ward, your beautiful family that opened your hearts. I saw Mick here earlier. Dick, a shout out for Nana? Alright Dick's not in the room.

Thank you so much, opening your hearts to all of us to make this film. I thanked David, I'll thank him again. My family, my beautiful son who is traveling right now in South America and can't join me. It's ok, I'm ok Jack. My Mom and my Dad and my brother and my friends and my family. I want to thank the very most of all, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences, the Board of Governors, and all their members, whom many of you are here today. This has been a extraordinary journey in getting to know what the Academy is about and first and foremost, thank you Academy, because it's about selling motion pictures and respecting the work! Thank you so much.

Best Adapted Screenplay, Aaron Sorkin

Thank you. It's impossible to describe what it feels like to be handed the same award that was given to Paddy Chayefsky 35 years ago for another movie with "network" in the title. His was an original screenplay, this is an adaptation of a book by Ben Mezrich, so I'm accepting this on his behalf as well. There are a lot of people who've worked hard in my corner for a long time, it seems like the right moment to thank them. My assistant Lauren Lohman, my researcher, Ian Reichbach, my long suffering press rep, Joy Fehily, and all the women of Prime, Rich Heller, Bill Tanner, Andy Forshay, my agents Ari Emanuel and Jason Spitz who never blow my cover and reveal that I would happily do this for free and my Mom and Dad, who made a life for me where I get to be a part of nights like this.

I wrote this movie, but David Fincher made this movie and he did it with an ungodly artfulness. Someone this talented has no business being the nicest guy in the world, but he is and he made the movie of any screenwriter's dreams he had help from Amy Pascal, Michael Lynton, and everyone at Sony whose only mandate was to make it good. From Dana Brunetti, Ceán Chaffin, Mike De Luca, and America's best living film producer, Scott Rudin and from Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Armie Hammer again, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara, and a cast and crew that followed their leaders example that good enough was never good enough. This movie is going to be a source of pride for me every day for the rest of my life that is an un-repayable gift all I can say is thank you. Roxy Sorkin, your father just won the Academy Award, I'm going to have to insist on some respect from your guinea pig. Thank you very much.

Original Screenplay, David Seidler

The writer's speech, this is terrifying. My father always said to me, I would be a late bloomer. I believe I am the oldest person to win this particular award. I hope that record is broken quickly and often. I'd like to thank my daughter, Maya, my son, Mark, for having faith in their dad as I have faith in you. And I would like to thank my producers, my director, my cast, there's so many people and they are saying "wrap up now." I'm sorry. I would like to thank her Majesty, the Queen, for not putting me in the Tower of London for using the Melissa Leo "f" word. And I accept this on behalf of all the stutterers throughout the world. We have a voice, we have been heard, thanks to you the Academy.

Best Supporting Actor, Christian Bale
Bloody hell. Wow, what a room full of talented and inspirational people and what the hell am I doing here in the midst of you? It's such an honor. David O. Russell, what a great spirit, you know, on the set. Just fantastic, and thank you so much mate for making the work that all of us actors did actually mean something. You know, I mean that's the director's job of translating it to the audience and making it mean something. Thank you for that. Thank you to Pamela Martin, likewise, as our editor. The just incredible work of every actor. Melissa, I'm not going to drop the f-bomb like she did, I've done that plenty before.

Amy, Jack, Mark, man, you know the guy who just got this whole thing going right from the get go. Everybody in Lowell, all the actors from there. Dicky and Micky, where my quacker? Is he up there? Dicky's out there somewhere mate, eh mate? You're the best. You're the best. I can't wait, and listen. He's had a wonderful story and I can't wait to see the next chapter of his story, you know? If you wanna, if you wanna be a champ, if you wanna get trained with him go meet with him., go do it. Check him out, ok. Alright, he deserves it. Our producers, Mark, David, Todd, incredible. Relativity, and Paramount for just pushing this out there and letting people know it exists. So many movies are just brilliant but nobody ever knows about them, you know. So we're so lucky to be here tonight and have people recognize that. My team, led by Patrick and Boomer and Carlos and Jen and Anna and Julie, thank you so much for everything that you do.

And of course mostly, my wonderful wife, I didn't think I was like this. My wonderful wife who's my mast through the storms of life, I hope I'm likewise to you darling and our little girl who's taught me so much more than I'll ever be able to teach her. Thank you, thank you so much.

Best Documentary, Charles Ferguson

Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail and that's wrong. Thank you, but this is, this is also, this is about the movies, in fact, and that's what this is. So, thank you all for this profound honor. You've made us very, very happy. Thank you all. Let the record show, I'm not wearing jeans.

Best Original Song, Randy Newman

I'm very grateful for this and surprised. My percentages aren't great. I've been nominated 20 times and this is the 2nd time I won. At the Academy, at the lunch they have for the nominees, where they have like a Randy Newman chicken by this time, the, Mr. Mischer said that it's not really good television to take a list out of your pocket and thank a lot of people. It's not my style anyway, but it is in this case. I mean to have worked for Pixar doing the six pictures I've done, this one Lee Unkrich and worked with Mitchell Froom, Chris Montan at Disney.

I just have to thank these people. I don't want to, I want to be good television so badly, as you can see. I've been on this show any number of times and I've slowed it down almost every time. No wonder they only nominate 4 songs, what about cinematography. So there's 5. They could find a fifth song from someone. But hell with it. Think it might have beat me. Anyway, I thank you all very much for this. The Academy has been enormously kind to me as has the Music Branch and I love you all. Thank you very much.

Best Director, Tom Hooper

Wow, thank you to all the members of the Academy. This is an extraordinary honor. I'd like to congratulate my fellow nominees, Darren, David, David, Joel, and Ethan. Your work this year has been extraordinary. I'm honored to be nominated alongside you. Thank you to my wonderful actors. The triangle of man love which is Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and me. I'm only here because of you guys and Helena, I hope that reference doesn't make you too jealous. Thank you to all my cast, to my wonderful crew, to my producers, Iain, Gareth, and Emile, to David Seidler, whose extraordinary journey from childhood stammerer to the stage of the Kodak I find so profoundly moving.

Most of all, thank you to my parents, my mum and dad, who are in the audience tonight. And I know there's been a lot of thanking of mums, but this is slightly different because my mum in 2007 was invited by some Australian friends, she's Australian in London, to a fringe theater play reading of an unproduced, unrehearsed play called "The King's Speech." Now she's never been invited to a play reading in her entire life before, she almost didn't go because it didn't sound exactly promising, but thank God she did because she came home, rang me up and said, "Tom, I think I found your next film." So with this tonight, I honor you, and the moral of the story is listen to your mother.

Best Actress, Natalie Portman

Thank you so much to the Academy this is insane and I truly sincerely wish that the prize tonight was to get to work with my fellow nominees. I'm so in awe of you. I'm so grateful to get to do the job that I do. I love it so much. I want to thank my parents, who are right there, first and foremost for giving me my life and for giving me the opportunity to work from such an early age and showing me everyday how to be a good human being by example.

And I want to thank my team who works with me every day. Aleen Keshishian, my manager, for 18 years and my agents Kevin Huvane and everyone at CAA. Bryna and Tamar at ID, my friends who are everything to me no matter what's going on in my career. And everyone who has ever hired me, Luc Besson, who gave me first job when I was 11 years old. Mike Nichols, who has been my hero and my champion for the past decade and now Darren Aronofsky, you are a fearless leader, a visionary. I am blessed to have just gotten to get to work with you every day for the period of time we did.

So many people helped me prepare for this role. Mary Helen Bowers spent a year with me, training me, Michelle Rodriguez and Kurt Froman and Olga Kostritzky, Marina Stavitskaya, and my beautiful love Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed the film and has now given me my most important role of my life. And also there are people on films who no one ever talks about that are your heart and soul every day. Margie and Geordie who did my hair and makeup, Nicci, who dressed me, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who designed the beautiful ballet costumes, Joe Reidy, our incredible AD, first AD, and our camera operators J.C. and Steve who gave me so much soul behind the camera everyday you gave me all of your energy. Most importantly, my family, my friends, and my love. Thank you so much.

Best Actor, Colin Firth
I have a feeling my career has just peaked. My deepest thanks to the Academy. I'm afraid I have to warn you that I'm experiencing stirrings. Somewhere in the upper abdominals which are threatening to form themselves into dance moves. Joyous as they may be for me, it would be extremely problematic if they make it to my legs before I get off stage.

So I'm going to do my best to be brief with my gratitude first for being on this extraordinary list of fellow nominees. Something quite formidable and possibly the greatest honor of this. All the crew and my fellow cast members, those who are not here, and those who are, Geoffrey, Helena, and Guy, whose virtuosity made it very very difficult for me to be as bad as I was planning to be. And David Seidler whose own struggles have given so many people the benefit of his very beautiful voice and Tom Hooper for the immense courage and clear sightedness with which he interpreted that. The men who finessed this to the screen, Gareth, Emile, Iain, Xavier, and of course, Harvey, who first took me on 20 years ago when I was a mere child sensation.

And all the people who have been rooting for me back home. Also Jessica Kolstad, my friend, Paul Lyon-Maris, and Chris Andrews for bearing with me through some of the less fortunate moments as well as the good ones and my very fortunate friendship with Tom Ford who to whom I owe a very big piece of this. And to the Anglo-Italian-American-Canadian axis, which makes up my family and Livia for putting up with my fleeting delusions of royalty and who I hold responsible for this and for really everything that's good that's happened since I met her. Now if you'll all excuse me, I have some impulses I have to tend to backstage. Thank you very much.

Best Picture, Iain Canning

What an incredible, incredible honor. What an amazing year for film. To be with those other films in that category is just absolutely incredible. Tom Hooper, you put so much passion and love into every frame of this film. Thank you directing the film. To our acting royalty, Colin, Geoffrey, Helena, thank you so much for saying yes. To our amazing best of British crew, so amazing to share the stage with you tonight. And to my parents, and to my boyfriend Ben, you help me everyday do what I do. Thank you.

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