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by Peter Knegt
November 25, 2013 2:22 PM
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Watch The Last 10 Years of Best Supporting Actor Oscar Speeches

Every few weeks during awards season -- to fill in those long gaps between actual developments -- we figured we'd whet your Oscars-appetite by taking a look back at the acceptance speeches of the past decade. 

READ MORE: Watch The Last 10 Years of Best Supporting Actress Oscar Speeches

Here's a look back at the last 10 best supporting actor winners (fun fact: the last four have all had first names that start off with "Christ"!), ranked in order of their entertainment value, with embedded clips for your time-wasting pleasure. To be honest, the vast majority of the speeches pale in comparison to the supporting women list we posted last month. And we've notably excluded the speech Heath Ledger's family gave after his posthumous win from the rankings, but you can watch it at the bottom of the article. Feel free to let us know your own thoughts on the speeches in the comments, since it's a pretty subjective system...

1. Christopher Plummer winning for "Beginners" in 2012. 
Leave it to Christopher Plummer to be the biggest exception to the rule that the supporting actor winners are nothing in comparison to the supporting actresses' charms. "You're only two years older than me, darling," Christopher Plummer says to his very first Oscar when he finally gets it in his hand. "Where have you been all my life?" Which makes for a very charming start to an entirely charming speech. Plummer was surely well aware he would probably win, and used that as opportunity to prep something incredibly graceful and witty -- as one would only expect from one of the classiest acts around. Though notably the Academy-uploaded clip below cuts the speech off in its final seconds. Plummer thanks his "long-suffering wife Elaine" and the camera cuts to her. But before he can finish, the clip abruptly ends. Long-suffering, indeed...


2. George Clooney winning for "Syriana" in 2006.
Almost as reliably charming as Plummer is Mr. George Clooney, who starts things off by joking that the award likely meant he wasn't winning for best director later that evening (he was nominated for "Good Night and Good Luck"). It continues into an effortlessly funny and thoughtful speech (with nice doses of self-deprecation). He strays from the typical long-list-of-thank-yous and instead gives a proclamation of (perhaps questionable, but we'll let it slide) pride for being part of the progressive Hollywood community.


3. Javier Bardem winning for "No Country For Old Men" in 2008
It's entertaining watching Javier Bardem do pretty much anything, and his energy on stage as he wins an Oscar for "No Country For Old Men" is more than electric enough to make this yet another example of that. And his diversion to Spanish (like his now wife Penelope Cruz did when she won a year later), to thank his proud mother who is sitting in the audience is pretty darn adorable.


4. Christoph Waltz winning for "Inglourious Basterds" in 2010.
Short, sweet and sincere, Christoph Waltz's first of two Oscar speech in just four years (both for Quentin Tarantino movies, no less), is also not particularly memorable. But it's difficult not to find Waltz's well-worded series of gratitudes endearing nonetheless, and he gets bonus points for his adorable opener that acknowledges the "uber-bingo" that is both winning an Oscar and having it handed to you by Penelope Cruz.


5. Christian Bale winning for "The Fighter" in 2011.
Christian Bale's wholly expected win for David O. Russell's "The Fighter" came after his co-star Melissa Leo's infamously insane speech for best supporting actress (watch that here), so it's hard for it not to feel like a bit of letdown by comparison. His starts off by rather cheaply referencing Leo's "f-bomb" and notes he won't be following suit because he's "done that plenty before." But while the speech mostly continues on as a somewhat unaffected list of thank yous, Bale's final, emotional shout out to his wife and daughter ends things off with a welcome vulnerability that makes it worth watching.

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4 Comments

  • gigi | November 26, 2013 10:14 AMReply

    It's interesting that when Plummer says - Where have you been all my life - it's charming, but when Anne Hathaway says - It happened - it's fake and stupid.

  • Rick | November 25, 2013 3:28 PMReply

    I thought the 5 former winners thing coming out to talk about the current nominees was a nice idea but a little indulgent and too time consuming for a show that is already too long (or at least criticized for being so)

  • ANS | November 25, 2013 6:44 PM

    I completely agree. It's also a blatant reminder that the actors are seen as 'better' or more 'important' than any other people in the industry. I like what they did with Colin Firth's presenting, he said a few lovely sentences about each nominee for Best Actress as well as a clip.

  • Liam | November 25, 2013 3:37 PM

    It also doesn't help if one of your five former winners pronounces it 'Seymour Philip Hoffman' :(