The Oscars make me happy. There are so many dresses to love, movies to cheer for, speeches to be inspired by and stars to swoon over. And while I haven’t actually participated in an Oscar pool or party in a few years, I’m still celeb-crazy which is why the annual event is must-see TV for me. So in honour of this Sunday’s 85th annual Academy Awards, I thought I’d go back and pick out some of my favourite happy acceptance speeches.
Of course, there were many, many great speeches to pick from. But I had my criteria — speeches that didn’t come across as rehearsed, contained surprising reactions or showed true, genuine happiness. So, here are my six picks — tell me what you think. Did I miss any?
1. Cuba Gooding Jr. (Best Supporting Actor, Jerry Maguire): I remember at the time watching this and the speech was almost off-putting in its enthusiasm. Looking back at it now, all I see is one really excited man accepting a sought-after award. Who wouldn’t tell the world they loved them if they won an Oscar?
2. Roberto Benigni (Best Foreign Language Film, Life is Beautiful): A beautiful reaction to a beautiful movie. And watching this you think—who does that at the Oscars? Who climbs on chairs and jumps with two-feet up the Oscar stairs? This charming star of the movie, that’s who.
3. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (Best Original Song, Falling Slowly): No tux on him. No coiffed hair on her. Just two musicians truly surprised and thankful to win their first Oscar. What makes this moment happier is not when Irglova is cut off by the music before she even starts her thank you, but when host Jon Stewart brings her back onstage later in the show for her moment of thank you.
4. Meryl Streep (Best Actress, The Iron Lady): I don’t know if it’s because she’s such a stunningly great actress, but Streep’s acceptance speech is humble (well, somewhat humble), grateful, emotional and, of course, happy (skip to five minutes in the video for Meryl).
5. Adrien Brody (Best Actor, The Pianist): After a slight fit of nervous or shocked giggles, a happy Brody heads onto the stage and — swept up in his happiness — pulls presenter Halle Berry into a long, thankful kiss.
6. Halle Berry (Best Actress, Monster’s Ball): What I love about this speech is the emotion. At first, you think she’s simply being dramatic, playing up her surprise about the win. But as she starts to talk and thanks her predecessors including Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, you realize her highly emotional reaction is because she’s the first woman of colour to win this award.
What’s your favourite Oscar speech? Tell us in the comments section below and have a great time watching on Sunday!