7 unforgettable Oscars speeches in recent history

March 10, 2024 5:41 pm

[Source: CNN Entertainment]

The 96th Academy Awards will take place on Monday and while the gowns and the guests will be beautiful, we’ll be watching to get in our feelings with moving acceptance speeches.

Honestly, the crazier or more emotional, the better.

Let’s look back at some of the more unforgettable Oscars speeches from ceremonies in recent decades.

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Roberto Benigni, “Life is Beautiful” (1999)

When director and actor Roberto Benigni won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 1999, he jumped up, walked over neighboring chairs, clutched Steven Spielberg’s hand along his path, then, quite literally, bounced his way to the stage to yell, “This is a moment of joyl!”

Rewatching video of the moment is an instant mood boost

Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” (2016)

Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar in 2016 for his performance as lead actor in “The Revenant.” DiCaprio used his moment in the spotlight to urge people to work together to address the threat of climate change.

“I thank you all for this amazing award tonight,” DiCaprio said. “Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.”

Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave” (2014)

There were few dry eyes in the audience when Nyong’o won for her performance in the drama “12 Years a Slave.” Her poignant speech concluded with a powerful message.

“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid,” she said.

Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (2023)

In 2023, Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win the Oscar for best actress in a leading role for her performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Taking the stage, Yeoh, then 60, proudly said, “This is proof that dream big and dreams do come true, and ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you’re past your prime.”

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, “Good Will Hunting” (1997)

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were newbies to the movie industry when they won an Oscar for writing “Good Will Hunting.” With youthful exuberance, the Boston besties tried to beat the clock, rapidly shouting out the city of Boston and multiple names on their thank you list, including to their moms, who they took as dates to the ceremony.

Halle Berry, “Monster’s Ball” (2002)

This was a moment and Berry more than met it in her moving acceptance speech in 2002, when she became the first Black woman to win the Oscar for best lead actress. Accepting her award in tears, Berry acknowledged the historic significance of her win.

“This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll,” Berry said. “It’s for every faceless, nameless, woman of color who now has the chance because this door tonight has been opened.”

Robin Williams, “Good Will Hunting” (1998)

When Williams won the Academy Award for supporting actor for his performance in “Good Will Hunting,” the brilliant late comedian joked he was at a rare loss for words.

“Ah, man! This might be the one time I’m speechless,” Robins said, before going on to acknowledge the aforementioned Affleck and Damon, teasing, “Thank you, Ben and Matt. I still want to see some ID.”

His speech, perfectly timed and infused with heart and humor, concluded with a great line.

“I want to thank my father, up there, the man who when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said, “Wonderful, just have a back-up profession like welding,” Williams recalled. “Thank you. God bless you.”