20 Incredibly Inspiring Oscar Acceptance Speech Quotes
The big awards can be almost as entertaining as the movies they celebrate. Read these gems from favorite acceptance speeches throughout the years.
Keeping it humble
“I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream. I never thought this would ever happen.” —Hilary Swank, Best Actress, Million Dollar Baby, 2004
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It pays to persevere
“No matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible. Fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up.” —Marketa Irglova, Best Original Song, Once, 2008
Believe in yourself
“God bless that potential that we all have for making anything possible if we think we deserve it. I deserve this.” —Shirley MacLaine, Best Actress, Terms of Endearment, 1984
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Telling it like it is
“I am king of the world!” —James Cameron, Best Director, Titanic, 1997
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Remember how you got there
“It has been a long journey to this moment.” —Sidney Poitier, Best Actor, The Defiant Ones, 1959
Spread the love
“I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being to prove that we are a human race. To prove that our love outweighs our need to hate. That our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame. That our sensitivity to those in need is stronger than our greed.” —Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, 1993
“This is such an honor. But the thing that counts the most with me is the friendships, and the love, and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together.” -Meryl Streep, Best Actress, The Iron Lady, 2012
Trial by fire
“When you are in the ocean you must swim.” –Pedro Almodovar, Best Foreign Film, All About My Mother, 2000
“I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating. I don’t care if it’s a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music. Anybody who spends part of their day sharing their experience with us. I think the world would be unlivable without art.” -Steven Soderbergh, Best Director, Traffic, 2001
Cheer a support system
“…never once in my life did my parents ever say, ‘What you’re doing is a waste of time.’ Never. And I grew up, I had teachers, I had colleagues, I had people that I worked with all through my life who always told me what you’re doing is not a waste of time… I know there are kids out there that don’t have that support system, so if you’re out there and you’re listening, listen to me: If you want to be creative, get out there and do it; it’s not a waste of time. Do it. OK?” —Michael Giacchino, Best Original Music Score, Up, 2010
Let go of the past
“You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard but you can’t hold grudges. And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is you gotta get up.” —Ben Affleck, Best Picture, Argo, 2013
Dare to dream
“When I’m being true to myself, I can avail myself to extraordinary things such as this. You have to allow for the impossible to be possible.” —Lupita Nyong’o, Best Supporting Actress, 12 Years a Slave, 2014
It’s all you can do
“You just do the best you can.” —Clint Eastwood, Best Director, Million Dollar Baby, 2004
“Stay weird. Stay different. And then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along. Thank you so much.” —Graham Moore, Best Adapted Screenplay, The Imitation Game, 2015
Don’t forget to set the alarm
“I won and I get to scream and jump a little. But I got to go back to work tomorrow.” —Benicio del Toro, Best Supporting Actor, Traffic, 2000
“Can I have my champagne now?” —Cate Blanchett, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, The Aviator, 2004
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Uncover the past
“You know, there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place. And that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, ‘What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist, and thank god I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” —Viola Davis, Best Supporting Actress, Fences, 2017
Know your priorities
“There’s a few things, about three things to my count that I need each day. One I need something to look up to, another something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase.” —Matthew McConaughey, Best Actor, Dallas Buyers Club, 2014
Thank your one and only
“And I am standing here because the woman I share my life with has taught me and demonstrates for me every day just what love is.” —Tom Hanks, Best Actor, Forrest Gump, 1997
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Remember who paved the way
“This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that stand beside me: Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.” —Halle Berry, Best Actress, Monster’s Ball, 2002