The worst Oscar acceptance speeches

Steve Charnock
Yahoo UK Movies Features
17 February 2012

Not everyone can be as smooth as Kevin Spacey. When he picked up his Best Actor award for 'American Beauty' in 2000, he strolled up, shot the audience a look and drawled: 'this is the highlight of my day.'

Stars can however take a few precautions against messing things up too much. Here's a handy guide to  those nominated for this year's Oscars on what not to say during their acceptance speeches.

[Related feature: Squirm your way through the biggest Oscar scandals]
[Related feature: Hopefully this year's hosts will avoid these Oscar presenting gaffes]

Don't out any closet gay men




For his sterling performance as a man dying of AIDS in 'Philadelphia' Tom Hanks deservedly bagged the Best Actor gong. In his speech the 'Forrest Gump' star thanked his old drama teacher and called him 'one of the finest gay Americans'.

Trouble was, the actor's old pal had never actually come out. Awkwaaaaaaard... Recognise this story? Hanks' faux pas inspired the movie 'In & Out' with Kevin Kline.

Don’t get over emotional

Gwyneth Paltrow's podium performance in 1999 was so blub-filled you could barely even call it a 'speech'. She emoted more in those two minutes than she has in her entire acting career.

Stars must consider how they'll look. Ralph Lauren gowns and snot don't generally go together all that well...

Don't embarrass the Academy with a searing political point

At the 1975 awards, producer Bert Schneider collected the Best Documentary award for the Vietnam war doc, 'Hearts and Minds'. At the podium he read out a letter from the Vietcong delegation to the Paris peace talks which thanked the American people for opposing the war.

Schneider was brave – and perhaps right – to make the point, but the Academy didn't agree. Hollywood heavyweights like Bob Hope and John Wayne openly criticised him and Frank Sinatra even tried to fight him backstage!

Don't quote your own film at the top of your voice

'Titanic' director James Cameron's speech was going so well until he decided to shout "I'm the king of the woooooorld! Woo-hoo!" 'Pillock of the Oscars' might have been more appropriate.

Do remember, it's just an award

Halle Berry was very moved when she picked up her Best Actress Oscar for 'Monster's Ball'. She was the first black woman to win the award.

A bit of a milestone, but Berry went on about it like she'd permanently ended racism and oppression. A bit of perspective wouldn't go amiss.

Do make some sort of sense

Here's a choice cut from luvvy Sir Laurence Olivier's high-falutin' speech in 1979: "This award is a great firmament of your nation's generosities which shows the prodigal, pure human kindness of it all. This is a beautiful star in that firmament which shines on me at this moment and I am experiencing the euphoria that happens to so many of us at the first breath of the majestic glow of a new tomorrow." Even a thesp as great as Olivier looked a bit daft coming up with this stuff.

Don't be needy and weird

We can imagine winning an Oscar is emotional, but do at least try and retain some dignity. When Sally Field won her gong for 'Places in the Heart', she screamed into the mic: "You like me! You really like me!" Well, we did up until you started being all weird, Sal...

Don't send a fake native American to get it for you

Marlon Brando was not a man widely recognised for playing by the rules. When his turn as Don Vito Corleone scooped him the Best Actor Oscar, he decided to send Sacheen Littlefeather in his place because "awards in this country at this time are inappropriate to be received or given until the condition of the American Indian is drastically altered". Littlefeather turn out to be an actress. Brando was criticised by almost everyone.

Can you think of any other duff acceptance speeches? Let us know below...

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