Yes, there are the dresses, the jewelry, the red carpet, and all of the glamor. However, the true point of the Oscars, being held for the 83rd time on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, is to give awards to the best work in the movie industry during the previous year. And that means having to endure a seemingly unending stream of dreaded acceptance speeches. While few of these soliloquies will qualify the speakers for literary awards, some are truly embarrassing to watch. Here are three past speeches that just shouldn’t have happened. (Colin Firth and Natalie Portman take note.)
Sally Field accepted the Best Actress award for the second time in 1985 for “Places in the Heart.” (She won the Best Actress award also in 1980 for her work in “Norma Rae.”) You’d think the second time she’d be a little more poised, but she exclaimed from the podium, “The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” And, with those few words, she set the cause of self-confident women back at least a decade or two.
Unless you’re on your death bed, sending someone else to give your acceptance speech is tacky. But that’s what Marlon Brando did when he won the Best Actor award for his work in “The Godfather” in 1973. The venerable actor sent a girl named Saheen Littlefeather up on stage to refuse the award and say “I think awards in this country at this time are inappropriate to be received or given until the condition of the American Indian is drastically altered.” What a great way to put a damper on the evening’s festivities. The worst part: It turned out that she wasn’t even a Native American.
Okay, Mr. Palance, you were in pretty good shape for an old guy when you won the Best Supporting Actor award in 1991 at age 72 for your work in “City Slickers,” but doing push-ups during your acceptance speech? That’s exactly what he did. After a short, rambling speech, he left the podium and did three one-armed push-ups in his tux on the Oscar stage. What were you thinking?
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