I am ready for Oscar speeches. I am ready for badass Oscar speeches. And here are 10 that remind you what it looks like when a bad-ass wields a gold statue and tells it like it is.
1. Lee Grant remembers what Hollywood did to her. And now they will never forget.
Lee Grant, who won a Best Supporting Actress for “Shampoo,” was blacklisted in the '50s and had to put her entire career on hold. She eventually rebounded with an Emmy for “Peyton Place” and a couple of Oscar nominations. When the time came to approach the dais, she had reckoning on her mind. Addressing her Oscar, she said, “We had a fight 20 years ago. I think he's changed. I know I haven't.” BAM.
2. George Burns was the hottest young star of '75.
George Burns picked up an Oscar for “The Sunshine Boys” at the age of 80. And yet, he was somehow the youngest star in the room. His quote: “I've been in show business all of my life and I've loved every minute of it. Tonight proves one thing: If you stay in the business long enough and if you get to be old enough, you get to be new again.”
3. Sandy Powell wins a third Oscar for “The Young Victoria” and acts like Queen Victoria while doing so.
Sandy Powell, empress of movie fashions, won her third Oscar for costuming “The Young Victoria,” which might just be the most costumey movie of all time. When her name was announced, she sauntered up to the stage looking like the most fabulously suspicious character in a murder mystery and sighed: “Well, I already have two of these. So I'm feeling greedy.” She added, “I'd like to dedicate this one to the costume designers that don't do movies about dead monarchs or glittery musicals. The designers that do the contemporary films and the low-budget ones don't get as recognized, and they should. They work as hard. So this is for you, but I'm going to take it home.” Grateful, haughty, respectful, and haughty again. Perfect.
4. Cate Blanchett would like more Blue Jasmines in the world, guys.
True glamor and a perfect speech. Cate Blanchett had something major to say about “Blue Jasmine” and female protagonists when she won her second Oscars: “[There are] those of us in the industry who are still clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.”
5. Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein puts it all in perspective for you.
Gerda Weissman Klein was part of the Oscar-winning documentary short subject “One Survivor Remembers,” and she took only a minute or so to blow the audience's mind with some perspective about war and what “winning” means. I won't even quote it here, it's so good. Just watch.
6. Shirley MacLaine is as gracious and tired as ever.
Before toasting James L. Brooks, Jack Nicholson, and “the turbulent brilliance” of Debra Winger (LOL), Shirley MacLaine began her Oscar speech with a desperate confession: “I'm going to cry because this show has been as long as my career.” Hilarious and withering as always, our Shirl.
7. Lupita Nyong'o gave perhaps the greatest Oscar speech. Full stop.
Lupita Nyong'o won an Oscar for her debut performance in “12 Years a Slave,” a movie where she plays the cruelly treated slave Patsey. The subject of Solomon Northup's story is incredibly grim, and she managed to acknowledge that thoroughly and graceful at the Oscars. “It does not escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance.” The rest of the speech is divine and literary-level great too.
8. Ingrid Bergman thinks her own Oscar is b.s.
“It's always very nice to get an Oscar,” Ingrid Bergman mused while accepting her third Oscar for a very slight role in “Murder on the Orient Express.” “But in the past [Oscar] has shown that he is very forgetful and that his timing is wrong.” She then added that the Oscar should've gone to co-nominee Valentina Cortese, who played an actress in the Truffaut film “Day for Night.” “I'm her rival and I don't like it at all!” Bergman said. “Forgive me, Valentina, I didn't mean to!” Holler to the Swedish supernova Ingrid Bergman for being the classiest legend in the room.
9. Stage and screen icon Ruth Gordon finds her first Oscar “encouraging.”
“I can't tell you how encouraging a thing like this is,” said Ruth Gordon as she picked up a trophy at age 72 for “Rosemary's Baby.” She'd been a stage star for 50 years. She wrote an Oscar-nominated screenplay in the early '50s. She had done it all, yet played the ingenue here. Amazing. Her final line is a towering Oscar moment. She said, “And thank all of you who voted for me, and to everyone who didn't: please, excuse me.”
10. Do not interfere with Cuba Gooding Jr.'s joy.
Cuba Gooding Jr. was not intimdated by the blast of music that tried to usher him offstage for his “Jerry Maguire” win. He shouted through it and earned the most honest standing ovation in Oscar history. It is actually kind of inspiring.