Say it right

Posted by · 3:35 pm · January 19th, 2009

Last week, I wondered whether Mickey Rourke’s eccentric, yet moving, acceptance speech at the Golden Globes could bolster his chances with the Academy. It may sound like a trivial concern, but the fact remains that Rourke’s speech was a talking point, a bona fide ‘moment’ that made for great TV — and if Roberto Benigni has taught us anything, it’s that onstage personality goes a long way with the Academy. In a tight race, the promise of a memorable acceptance can be just enough to push a contender past the finish line.

Now, Dave Karger is addressing the flipside of the question, and asking whether the relatively sloppy acceptance speeches of Anne Hathaway and Kate Winslet, at the BFCA Awards and Golden Globes respectively, could actually damage their Oscar campaigns:

Upon sharing the Critics Choice prize with her idol, Meryl Streep, Hathaway — who certainly meant to say this a bit more artfully — said it was “fitting” that she tied for the prize with Streep since she thought the Doubt star was the best actress around. But it came off condescending to all the other actresses in the room, particularly her category-mates like Angelina Jolie and Melissa Leo. The usually composed Winslet, meanwhile, nearly had a heart attack when she won her two Golden Globe prizes. To many people, the reactions seemed over-the-top. Or worse, fake.

It must have been overwhelming for both of them to hear their names called. But on the other hand, let’s remember that both of these awards are handed out by groups of journalists, for God’s sake — people that big stars like Hathaway and Winslet usually don’t give a hoot about. Why should they then fall to pieces over what those journalists think about them?

I must say, while I agree that both ladies’ acceptances were fairly excruciating, I can’t see the Academy voters being particularly bothered by the matter. If anything, it probably helps them: voters clearly like visible emotion onstage, and there’s a long line of weepy, snivelling Best Actress winners, from Sally Field to Gwyneth Paltrow to Halle Berry, to prove the fact.

All gave messy, faintly embarrassing speeches, but crucially, they appeared genuinely grateful for the award — and gratitude goes a long way with the Academy. Last year’s Best Actress race was a case in point: while initial frontrunner Julie Christie was classy, cool and entirely unfussed in her acceptance speeches on the precursor circuit, Marion Cotillard’s emotional near-breakdown at the BAFTAs made her the name on everybody’s lips. While other factors were surely in play, the French thesp gave the appearance of wanting it more … and duly bagged the Oscar.

Say what you like about Hathaway and Winslet’s respective speeches, but their gratitude was plain to see. And I suspect that made a lot of Academy members smile — even as they were cringing.

→ 22 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

22 responses so far

  • 1 1-19-2009 at 3:43 pm

    JC said...

    The Globes were a test-run. Winslet better get it together when she wins an Oscar. She IS a classy young woman, but her speeches were most definitely not.

    Heck, Colin Farrell was more composed.

  • 2 1-19-2009 at 3:46 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Yeah, if anything it’ll help them.

    And cringe all you want, but I found their speeches (especially Winslet’s) nothing but endearing. They were grateful, surprised, and genuinely happy, something that certain winners lack. I loved their speeches and I’m sure they’ll go over well with the Academy.

  • 3 1-19-2009 at 3:50 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yeah, I don’t actually think there was anything fake about Winslet’s speech. But I’d have preferred it if she’d had something meaningful to say.

  • 4 1-19-2009 at 3:51 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    And Colin Farrell’s speech was sheer awesomeness.

  • 5 1-19-2009 at 3:51 pm

    James D. said...

    If they can allow Tilda Swinton to kill the buzz of the Oscars, they will let Hathaway or Winslet onstage.

  • 6 1-19-2009 at 4:04 pm

    JC said...

    “And Colin Farrell’s speech was sheer awesomeness.”

    I thought it was very articulate, second in effectiveness only to Mickey Rourke (more emotional in this case).

  • 7 1-19-2009 at 4:06 pm

    JC said...

    And though I’m hardly the biggest fan of Happy-Go-Lucky, Hawkins definitely seemed like a sweetheart on the stage, when she won.

  • 8 1-19-2009 at 4:11 pm

    Jake said...

    I was laughing when Hathaway said it was “fitting.” I was like, um, wrong choice of words (or as the Joker would say, “very poor choice of words!”). Anyway, it should be about the performances, and not about the acceptance speeches. Granted, if an actor were to win a Golden Globe and then completely curse the Academy during his/her speech, then I might have second thoughts after he/she. :p

  • 9 1-19-2009 at 4:36 pm

    Dario said...

    Now, what I enjoy most (and others have pointed it out a couple of times) is Angelina Jolie’s facial expression every time she loses. A perfect combination of slightly annoyed, not completely bothered, with just an added hint of ‘bitch, NO.’ after Winslet reffered to her at the Globes as “Oh my God, who’s the other one?!”.

    I’m kind of rooting for her to be nominated and lose just to see that again.

  • 10 1-19-2009 at 4:46 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    JC: I agree, I thought Farrell’s speech was beautiful — I loved the “curiosity is love”line. I don’t get why some people thought it was incoherent. And yeah, Hawkins’ Golden Globe speech was my favourite moment of the whole season so far. She was so obviously moved.

    And Dario: Yeah, I see your point, but I still think I’d prefer her not to be nominated at all ;)

  • 11 1-19-2009 at 4:48 pm

    Pauley said...

    I thought Winslet’s first speech was entirely composed. Her second, her response was entirely natural, and she certainly didn’t loose control a la Paltrow or Berry. She also delivered the best comic line of the night with “oh god, whose the other one” Classic.

  • 12 1-19-2009 at 4:49 pm

    Rachel said...

    I think that most of Hollywood thinks the Foreign Press is a joke, but love a party, and hope that winning a Golden Globe will encourage the old farts in the Academy to actually look at their film.

  • 13 1-19-2009 at 6:33 pm

    Robbie said...

    I hope previous acceptance speeches do not affect how Academy members vote. That would be ridiculous.

  • 14 1-19-2009 at 6:48 pm

    Matt said...

    If awards were handed out based on acceptance speeches… the Coens or No Country for Old Men would not have won a single award. Oh my god the Coens were soooo boring.

  • 15 1-19-2009 at 8:30 pm

    Sophie said...

    Excellent observation Dave Karger, Winslet unreasonable to receive two awards worse when snubbing Angelina, who is clearly upset and rightly so.
    I felt nothing for his sincere reaction.
    Besides Kate deserves a chance to be nominated in two categories and not twice in one category, the wise decision AMPAS regulations. Not as scandalous BAFTA this year, a shame.

  • 16 1-19-2009 at 8:58 pm

    Zan said...

    Sally Hawkins looked like a babbling idiot up on that stage, just as much so as Anne Hathaway.

  • 17 1-19-2009 at 9:23 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    If Hathaway wins the Oscar she is probably going to have a seizure.

  • 18 1-19-2009 at 9:46 pm

    PJ said...

    I much prefer Sally Hawkins’s brand of emotional speech to Kate Winslet or Anne Hathaway’s.

  • 19 1-19-2009 at 10:15 pm

    Glenn said...

    “f they can allow Tilda Swinton to kill the buzz of the Oscars”

    er, wasn’t Swinton’s one of the best speeches of the night? I think so.

    I didn’t like Anne’s speech – crying at the BFCAs? geez – but Kate’s were lovely (well, her first especially). The moment you win two Golden Globes in one night is the same night you can rag on Winslet for getting too emotional. How was it fake? Considering she’d never won before and then won TWICE in one night, I would think she has a damn good reason for being a bit crazy.

    Hawkins’ was lovely and charming though. She was legitimately shocked and honoured.

    Now, if we want to speak about bad speech givers, how about Forest Whitaker? He gave terrible speech after terrible speech and that didn’t effect his chances at oscar in the slightest.

    And I’d take Winslet’s emotionalness of Jamie Foxx’s arrogance any day of the week.

  • 20 1-20-2009 at 9:42 am

    Mike V. said...

    Winslet’s second speech seemed real. She didn’t expect it… and if you’re a Kate fan and have seen her interviews, you can know it was pretty natural.

    I would love to see Meryl winning the BA award. Her speeches are so funny!

  • 21 1-20-2009 at 1:03 pm

    The Rake said...

    This is interesting. During our live blog ( of the Globe awards I was commenting how bad Winslet’s speeches were. Although I admit that mnay actresses are reduced to ruined spectacles at these given moments. I thought Laura Linney was an example of how to handle it. Smooth and easy. Nice piece Guy!

  • 22 1-21-2009 at 3:26 am

    Glenn said...

    But Linney was winning for the mini-series categories, not a category that could be replicated with an Oscar. And Linney hadn’t won two in one evening.