Last night was the 83rd Academy Awards. Thank god for DVRs. I get to see who wins, check out the fabulous gowns, listen to the funny hosts (not so funny last night) and… I can fast forward through the obligatory awful thank you litany in 99% of the acceptance “speeches.” Woo Hoo!
So a few comments about the speeches. First, a disclaimer – I didn’t listen to every speech. If the speaker started with a long list of thank you’s (very bad way to start) I promptly fast forwarded past it. That said, here goes.
No stand out speeches last night. Not one. Totally disappointing. Usually there are at least one or two folks who manage to say something poignant (more than “oh my god”) or meaningful.
Not last night.
The hosts were even boring, though Annie Hatthaway was adorable and effervescent. She couldn’t help it if the writing sucked. James franco was boring and stiff. Who knows, maybe they asked him to play it that way as a counter to Annie’s animated personality. I want Billy Crystal and Steve Martin back.
But back to the “speeches. “
This was his first nomination and award. In his 70’s, Mr. Seidler started off with a great quip:
“my dad always said I would be a late bloomer”
drawing a round of laughs.
He went on to say, “I believe I am the oldest person to win this particular award. I hope that record is broken quickly and often” a not so subtle and important reminder about the tendency of Hollywood to hire and reward the younger crowd more often than not, despite the phenomenal talent and experience of people over the age of 35.
Mr. Seidler then devolved into the usual thank you litany after that, unfortunately, but it was mercifully short. He then ended with “I accept on behalf of all the stutterers of the world.. . we have a voice, we have been heard, thank you the academy.”
So, he started off pretty good. But the problem with his ending is twofold: 1) who knew Mr. Seidler was a childhood stutterer? and, 2) was The King’s Speech really about giving “a voice” to stutterers world-wide?
If it was, I think I missed that message in the movie. I thought it was more about the relationship between the King and his instructor, and about the internal suffering the main character endured and about his overcoming the huge obstacle of stuttering, given his need to speak publicly so much. To me it was a fantastic movie about overcoming the overwhelming barrier of stuttering, but it didn’t feel like it was about “giving voice” to stutterers.
What this means from an acceptance speech point of view is that you need to think ahead about what type of message you want to convey when you accept your award – it matters. And thinking about whether your audience will hear that message matters as well.
A better ending would have been to say “I accept on behalf of all the stutterers of the world.. . who now know they can overcome it, just like I did, and just like King George did.”
Next post will include some tips on how to handle acceptance speeches, even at the Academy Awards.