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Memo To Potential Academy Award Winners: Watch 10 Oscar Speeches To Aspire To

By Indiewire | Indiewire February 21, 2013 at 11:35AM

The Oscars are just a couple days away, and surely one of the big highlights of the event will be the speeches -- for better or for worse. As Melissa Leo can surely attest, a bad or bizarre (or both) Oscar speech can be the next morning's top water cooler topic, and haunt you for the rest of your career.
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Glen Hansard and Market Irglova (Best Original Song, 2008)
John Carney’s "Once" is a ragged, sweetly affectionate ultra low-budget film that turned into an international sensation. In a whimsical move fitting of the musical’s story, stars Glen Hansard, then best known for fronting the Irish folk-rock band The Frames, and Marketa Irglova, virtually an unknown, won an Oscar for “Falling Slowly,” the gorgeous song that served as the film’s finest moment. The two Irish lovebirds, who at the time were a real-life couple, approached the podium beaming ecstatically. Hansard launched into totally humble and sincere stream of graciousness, but when Marketa got up to the mic she was immediately cut off the music, so she just nodded and smiled obediently. Luckily, host Jon Stewart was impressed by the duo’s humility and brought Marketa back on stage later in the show to make up for it, and the audience was treated to an eloquent, adorable, and heart-wrenching minute of Marketa praising the merits of hope. The duo’s genuine underdog humility is more than a little refreshing in a night usually weighed down in self-congratulation. [Mark E Lukenbill]

James Marsh, Simon Chinn, and Phlippe Petit (Best Documentary Feature, 2008)
"Project Nim" director James Marsh might not be on the best terms with the Academy recently after last year’s (totally justifiable) remarks that their inability to pick the best documentaries of the year as nominees made them “look stupid,” but back in 2008 Marsh’s thrilling breakout hit "Man on Wire" nabbed the prize for Best Doc. As soon as Marsh and producer Simon Chinn took the stage, Marsh commanded, “Philippe, you’ve got about twenty second to get up here,” and up sprang his compellingly odd subject, the giddy tightrope walker Philippe Petit. Both Marsh and Chinn have short, charming thanks to their families before quickly turning over the mic to the showman Petit. “May [my kids] continue to have big dreams, but may they please not do what this man does,” Chinn gave as introduction to Petit, who was met with loud cheering and applause from the expectant audience. Petit didn’t disappoint. First, he made a coin given to him by Werner Herzog disappear and thanked the Academy for believing in magic and then balanced the Oscar on his nose. We’re not saying being a magician is an Oscar prerequisite (Surely Michael Haneke must know a card trick or two?), but it certainly makes for more compelling television than your average laundry list of thank yous. [Mark E Lukenbill]

Luke Matheny (Best Live Action Short Film, 2011)
The odds seem to be stacked against Luke Matheny when his short film "God of Love" won the award for Best Live Action Short during the 2011 Oscars. The competitors ranged from the tragic existentialism of "The Confession" to the cancer-stricken virginity lost sort "Wish 143," and Matheny's NYU-financed quirky love story hardly held the same thematic elements. But while the subject matter of both his speech and his film may have been lacking some of the "depth" of his fellow nominees, he was more than able to make up for it with his sheer earnest charm, which was likely what got him the award in the first place. Beginning with an off-hand remark lamenting not cutting his hair before the evening, Matheny’s speech was filled with the kind of goofy charisma lacking in much of the Hollywood industry. During an Oscar reception as dull as any in recent memory, Matheny’s win was a noticeably encouraging moment for the industry, and hopefully an example of the kind of up and coming independent winners we will see much more of in the ceremony’s future. [Cameron Sinz]

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Video






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