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The Oscar Speech Oscars: 20 Best (and Worst) Academy Award Speeches

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Feb 20, 2013 | 9:10am EST

Adrien Brody kissing Halle Berry at the Oscars

The real prize in any Academy Award victory isn't the glimmering, faceless statue that's probably a pain to lug all the way back to your Los Angeles loft, but the opportunity to say anything you want on live television for about a minute or so: the Oscar speech. Winners are granted a no-holds-barred venue to thank family members, speak on behalf of causes, or — in many cases — go off the rails entirely.

RELATED: 10 Actors Who Won Oscars for the Wrong Movie

In the eight decades of Oscar speeches, we've happened upon some doozies. A handful of memorable favorites — classy, admirable ventures and face-palming guilty pleasures alike. And no two of the show's sermons are alike, each member of the crème de la crème deserving a superlative all its own. Perhaps even... and award.

So without further ado, we present Oscars for Oscar Speeches — we open our envelopes to reveal the orations earning victories throughout the many esteemed categories devised by the Academy Awards... watchers who work for Hollywood.com. Check out the show to see who took home the titles for...

Best Visual Effects in a Speech, Best Makeup and Hairstyling in a Speech, Best Original Score in a Speech

Best Short Speech, Best Animated Speech, Best Foreign Language Speech

Best Ensemble Speech, Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Speech, Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Speech

Best Original Writing for a Speech, Best Adapted Writing for a Speech, Best Directing in a Speech

Best Comedic Performance in a Speech, Best Dramatic Performance in a Speech, Best Speech

... and the Razzies

Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

Best Visual Effects in a Speech

The action scene peformed by the great Jack Palance when he accepted the Best Supporting Actor Award for City Slickers.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling in a Speech

A top tier makeup team must have done quite a number on Marlon Brando to get him to look like this young Native American woman during his acceptance speech for his lead role in The Godfather.

RELATED: Name That Oscar Tune: 9 Songs Snubbed by the Academy

Best Original Score in a Speech

Many an Oscar speech conscribes to the standard spoken-word form. But Stanley Donen's Honorary Oscar in 1997 warranted a few notes of song...

See the Other Categories:

Best Short Speech, Best Animated Speech, Best Foreign Language Speech

Best Ensemble Speech, Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Speech, Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Speech

Best Original Writing for a Speech, Best Adapted Writing for a Speech, Best Directing in a Speech

Best Comedic Performance in a Speech, Best Dramatic Performance in a Speech, Best Speech

... and the Razzies

Best Short Speech

As short films are no less compelling than their feature-length brethren, short speeches pack just as mighty a punch. For example, Joe Pesci's 1991 acceptance "speech" for his Best Supporting Actor win for Goodfellas.

Best Animated Speech

Not a cartoon, so the title may be a bit of a misnomer. But Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s acceptance speech for his Best Supporting Actor win for Jerry Maguire was, undeniably, animated.

Best Foreign Language Speech

Foreign language films have the grace of subtitles. Foreign language speeches have the grace of translators. In the case of Ennio Morricone's 2007 Honorary Oscar, that position was upheld by a Clint Eastwood (pre-car commercials and chair rants).

See the Other Categories:

Best Visual Effects in a Speech, Best Makeup and Hairstyling in a Speech, Best Original Score in a Speech

Best Ensemble Speech, Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Speech, Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Speech

Best Original Writing for a Speech, Best Adapted Writing for a Speech, Best Directing in a Speech

Best Comedic Performance in a Speech, Best Dramatic Performance in a Speech, Best Speech

... and the Razzies

Best Ensemble Speech

Michael Moore rallied a hefty cast for his 2003 Bowling for Columbine Oscar speech-turned-political rant.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Speech

It wasn't Halle Berry's victory, but she did play a pivotal role in Adrien Brody's 2003 speech for The Pianist... great performances do not forgive lechery, Mr. Brody.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Speech

More famous than just about anything else Tom Hanks has ever said is his victory speech for Philadelphia. The supporting players? The two men he outed as gay therein. Hell, their story inspired the likes of In & Out... which, of course, didn't warrant any Oscar speeches.

See the Other Categories:

Best Visual Effects in a Speech, Best Makeup and Hairstyling in a Speech, Best Original Score in a Speech

Best Short Speech, Best Animated Speech, Best Foreign Language Speech

Best Original Writing for a Speech, Best Adapted Writing for a Speech, Best Directing in a Speech

Best Comedic Performance in a Speech, Best Dramatic Performance in a Speech, Best Speech

... and the Razzies

Best Original Screenplay for Speech

Kate Winslet claims this title with her speech for The Reader, written by the actress' herself, during childhood fantasies of Award Show victory vocations.

Best Adapted Screenplay for a Speech

We have to hand this one to that Sally Field classic, which she spouted in acceptance of Places in the Heart back in 1985. The speech's most famous line ("You like me!") was of adapted from her previous Oscar-winning picture, Norma Rae.

Best Directing in a Speech

When Frances McDormand took the Best Acress award in 1997 for Fargo, she commanded filmmakers around the nation to continue to make strong, interesting roles for women — an all-important stage direction, you might say.

See the Other Categories:

Best Visual Effects in a Speech, Best Makeup and Hairstyling in a Speech, Best Original Score in a Speech

Best Short Speech, Best Animated Speech, Best Foreign Language Speech

Best Ensemble Speech, Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Speech, Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Speech

Best Comedic Performance in a Speech, Best Dramatic Performance in a Speech, Best Speech

... and the Razzies

Best Comedic Performance in a Speech

Long overdue for an Oscar, Christopher Plummer managed this whimsical gem when he was awarded the Best Supporting Actor Award for beginners. Charming, noble, and incredibly funny, much like his performance in the movie.


Best Dramatic Performance in a Speech

Another one to the great Halle Berry, whose speech for her 2002 Monster's Ball win was at once engrossing and mortifyingly hard to watch, due to the sheer power of her words (and tears).

Best Speech

Roberto Benigni. Life is Beautiful. 1999. Pure, unbridled joy.

Best Visual Effects in a Speech, Best Makeup and Hairstyling in a Speech, Best Original Score in a Speech

Best Short Speech, Best Animated Speech, Best Foreign Language Speech

Best Ensemble Speech, Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Speech, Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Speech

Best Original Writing for a Speech, Best Adapted Writing for a Speech, Best Directing in a Speech

... and the Razzies

And the Razzies...

George Clooney, winning Best Supporting Actor for Syriana in 2006.

Gwyneth Paltrow, winning Best Actress for Shakespeare in Love in 1999.

Sean Penn, winning Best Actor for Mystic River in 2004.

James Cameron, winning Best Director for Titanic in 1997.

Melissa Leo, winning Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter in 2010.


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