As the 95th Academy Awards ceremony takes place this evening in Los Angeles, California, USA, we recall memorable moments from past award speeches and recognize how stars often use their short time onstage to make a strong political statement or take an indirect dig at key American or global political parties. They also have taken the opportunity to call attention to issues like limited awards for white actors and warn about climate change’s impact on our planet – both matters that occupy most Hollywood A-listers’ minds.
Al Pacino (1993)
Upon being awarded the Oscar for Best Actor in “Perfume of a Woman,” Al Pacino’s acceptance speech left millions captivated; it quickly amassed 8.7 million views on YouTube due to its sheer brilliance combined with his immense fan base.
On that fateful night, Jodie Foster presented the award to Al Pacino. When he took the stage, he revealed his surprise at having to give a speech: “I’ve been partying recently but never had I written a speech…until now!” He continued by expressing his gratitude to director Marty Priest for directing the final image of his character and showing him love during production every day!
Expressing his gratitude, he mentioned, “I’m deeply thankful for him creating such an intricate and humorous character that every actor would dream of playing. I’m not used to performing speeches but had to give one today.”
Al Pacino once said, “I am fortunate to have found my passion so early on in life and to be blessed with strong supporters like Lee Strasberg, Charlie Laughton, the gifted writers and directors I was privileged enough to work alongside.” His luck continued when he managed to secure such esteemed opportunities.
Accepting his Oscar, the renowned actor shared a poignant story of an experience he had in South Bronx. He recalled meeting a little girl at an event who told him that he provided her with encouragement and hope as they both hailed from the same place. This moment filled him with great pride and optimism for what could be accomplished by others like them.
Kate Winslet (2009)
As she accepted her Academy Award from Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet valiantly held back tears of joy and expressed immense appreciation. It is no surprise that her speech has since become one of the most watched speeches on YouTube with 8.5 million views!
Winslet disclosed in her speech, “To be honest, I have delivered this same speech before when I was just eight years old. Back then, instead of a trophy on my hands, it was a bottle of shampoo while standing in front of the bathroom mirror – but here I am today and so thankful that luck got me to where I stand now.”
I am humbled and want to express my earnest gratitude for the people who encouraged me throughout this journey, particularly my parents. It’s an unbelievable honor to be among such remarkable talent in a category with Meryl Streep. Playing Hannah Schimtz in The Reader has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Robin Williams (1998)
Despite being nominated three times, it wasn’t until 1998 that the late Robin Williams graced the stage of the Academy Awards as Best Supporting Actor for his unforgettable work in Good Will Hunting.
The crowd of Williams admirers were anticipating a speech brimming with his trademark impressions, yet he remained bashful and humble as he said, “Thank you. I think this is the first time that I have been left without words.”
His words of gratitude echoed throughout the room as he said: “I am incredibly humbled and thankful to be among such amazing talent. I owe a debt of gratitude to my cast, crew, wife Marsha (may she rest in peace), who continues to light up my mornings with her passion; but most importantly, I must thank my father for his support when I told him that I wanted this career – all he asked was if had a backup job lined up like welding!”
Marlon Brando (1972)
When Marlon Brando won the Best Actor Oscar for his part in “The Godfather,” he decided to not attend the award ceremony and sent Sachin Littleviser, an activist of Native American descent, instead. She voiced her client’s reasons for being absent while also calling attention to Hollywood’s negligence towards Indigenous Americans. To make a bold statement, Brando eventually refused to accept his own prize.
Sadly, this renowned activist passed away in 1973 after a struggle with breast cancer. In the months leading up to her death, The Academy formally apologized for how they treated her at the following Oscar ceremony that same year.
Leonardo DiCaprio (2016)
After 5 Oscar nominations,In 2016, Leonardo was awarded for his captivating performance in The Return. While receiving the accolade on stage, he decided to make a powerful statement about climate change and described how he personally witnessed its devastating effects while working on the movie.
According to DiCaprio, “The Return” was shot during 2015 – which was the hottest year on record. This emphasizes man’s tumultuous relationship with nature and how we were forced to travel all the way down south just so that we could find ice.
Emphasizing the point, he continued: Climate change is an urgent global crisis and we must join forces to support courageous leaders who are speaking out for humanity and those whose voices have been disregarded by money-driven politics. Our children, as well as billions of people around the world, rely on us to take action now against this looming threat.