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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Peter Knegt
October 23, 2013 1:50 PM
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Watch The Last 10 Years of Best Supporting Actress Oscar Speeches

Every few weeks during awards season -- to fill in those long gaps between actual developments -- we figured we'd wet your Oscars-appetite by taking a look back at the acceptance speeches of yore. Or, in this case, the past 10 years (is that yore, yet?).

Starting off with best supporting actress, here's a ranking of a decade of speeches in order of "enjoyability" (which doesn't necessarily mean they're good speeches, see #3), with embedded clips for your time-wasting pleasure. And feel free to let us know your own thoughts on the speeches in the comments, since it's a pretty subjective system...

1. Penelope Cruz winning for "Vicki Cristina Barcelona" in 2009.  There is so much to love about this clip. First, there's the five previous winners -- Eva Marie Saint, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Anjelica Huston and Tilda Swinton -- coming on stage to fete all five nominees, which is awe-inspiring and gives each woman their deserved moment (bring this feature back!). And then, after, Swinton says her name in a perfect Spanish accent, Penelope Cruz -- in a stunning gown -- takes the stage to give us as charming, emotional and sincere an Oscar speech as they come (try not to smile big -- or even tear up -- when she thanks Pedro Almodovar).

2. Tilda Swinton winning for "Michael Clayton" in 2008. Speaking of Ms. Swinton, her win the year before offered us a speech that really only she could give. Dedicating her speech to her agent (who she also compares physically to the makeup of the Oscar statuette), Swinton seems gloriously unaffected by what was probably the least expected win among the 10 on this list.  Refreshingly avoiding sentiment, she effortlessly gives a few thank yous and tells a few good jokes (notably at the expense of George Clooney) before going along on her way.

3. Melissa Leo winning for "The Fighter" in 2011. Among the weirdest (and surely the most enjoyable, at least in a certain way) speech in Oscar history begins with Kirk Douglas offering a mix of charming and creepy as he continuously delays reading the name on that envelope.  And while that name -- Melissa Leo -- was generally quite expected,  somewhat less expected was the hysteria the actress offered in a rambling, at times incoherent 3 minute rant that included a rare Oscar speech expletive, thanking the "Academy of Motion Picture Sciences" and the shoulda been a catchphrase "golly, sakes, there's people up there too" (when she appeared to discover there was more than one level to the then-Kodak Theater audience). Say what you want about Leo's sanity after watching that speech, but you do have to hand it to her for shamelessly bringing some crazy realness to a show that more often than not offers us restrained and ultimately boring versions of people (who in many cases surely have some -- some -- of what Leo fighting to get out on stage).

4. Octavia Spencer winning for "The Help" in 2012. "I'm freaking out, I'm sorry," a shaky, visibly emotional Octavia Spencer blurted out during her pretty darn adorable speech for "The Help." Not everyone can pull off panic with grace (see the previous on this list, though not that we're complaining), but Spencer certainly does and we loved her all the more for it.

5. Cate Blanchett winning for "The Aviator" in 2005. Here's a taste of what could come next year as 2014 best actress frontrunner Cate Blanchett wins her first Oscar for "The Aviator." Winning for playing Katherine Hepburn (four-time Oscar winner herself), Blanchett is all class as she dedicates her speech to Hepburn and Martin Scorsese, ending things off with a laugh by noting her hope that her son will marry Scorsese's daughter.


  • Dan | February 25, 2014 6:37 PMReply

    This article just made me think, "How the hell does Amy Adams not have an Oscar yet?!"
    I'm going back in time to give her 4 Oscars. Definitely for Junebug, The Fighter and The Master anyway.

  • PEDRO | February 25, 2014 10:22 AMReply

    Tilda Swinton gave the best speech of the decade, not Penelope Cruz. And you're being too harsh on Renée Zellweger.

  • Ans | October 24, 2013 1:26 AMReply

    I thought Penelope Cruz's speech was awkward, she tried to say something really meaningful about film preservation that fell flat.
    I also didn't like Octavia Spencer's speech - she was apparently crying but not crying at all - overly dramatic and painful to watch.
    Loved Tilda Swinton's and Cate Blanchett's the best.

  • Alex | October 23, 2013 11:45 PMReply

    Everyone was expecting Hathaway to break down and sob. If she did, people would have been nasty either way. It was a lose-lose for her.

  • Helen | October 23, 2013 9:02 PMReply

    Horrible spechees of Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Hudson and Melissa Leo. The speech of Marion Cotillard is more emotional and funny. Please Peter Knegt you did a wrong list.

  • Peter Knegt | October 23, 2013 9:21 PM

    I never said they weren't horrible (in fact, I kind of say they all are). And Marion Cotillard never won in this category. Please Helen read everything properly.