To be nominated for an Academy Award is a proud moment in any actor’s life. To win is history in the making. Unfortunately, some actors diminish their big win when it’s time to accept the award. They may even be remembered more for what they said at the podium than for the characters they portrayed. Here is a look at what I consider the three worst acceptance speeches in Oscar history.
Vanessa Redgrave, Best Supporting Actress (1978), Julia
British actress Vanessa Redgrave may have committed career suicide via her acceptance speech in 1978. Even though the role for which she won was political indeed, it was the way she handled the real-life circumstances of her crusade against fascism and anti-Semitism that garnered the most attention. Instead of ignoring the rebels outside of the theater on the night of the Academy Awards, she gave credence to their existence by mentioning them in her speech as “Zionist hoodlums” (Socialist Unity). The reference was not appreciated by many of her peers.
Tom Hanks, Best Actor (1994), Philadelphia
Tom Hanks is undoubtedly a diverse actor, but when it came time for his first Oscar speech, he seemed to get a little too caught up in the moment. He always comes across as someone who tries to make deep, heartfelt comments, but the words that he chooses are often over the top. For his win in 1994, he started the speech okay, but he took it to a whole new level by thanking “two of the finest gay Americans” and then becoming quite religious in his conveyance. At one point, I felt like I was listening to a sermon at church!
You can watch a video of the speech here.
Angelina Jolie, Best Supporting Actress (2000), Girl, Interrupted
Need I say more? Who can forget the statement that Jolie made about being “so in love with my brother right now?” It was unsettling, to say the least. She followed it up by thanking a few other people, but she could not suppress the love she had for her brother. The speech was strange, brief, and uninspiring. It’s one thing to be a normal person playing a troubled character. Being a disturbed person playing a disturbed character is a fish of a different color. Luckily, Angelina seems to have outgrown her desire to amplify her familial feelings (or dress like Morticia from The Addams Family).
See her speech here.
In the end, everyone has the right to speak freely. But the Academy Awards venue is not the proper forum for making political, religious, or otherwise radical statements, in my opinion. The ceremony is designed to appreciate and honor the best in creativity. And, in most cases, the characters people portray speak to the beliefs of the actors themselves. I’ve never heard of an actor taking on a part that they didn’t agree with. So, let Hollywood be filled with humility and grace…at least for one night!
“Vanessa Redgrave’s Oscar Speech”, Socialist Unity
Find out more about this year’s Oscars at Oscars.yahoo.com.