The Surprising History of Oscar Acceptance Speech Thank-Yous
It wasn't until 1955 that a winner thanked her dad
It’s an impressive honor to take home an Oscar. But it’s also worth some bragging rights if you can nab an acceptance speech shout-out.
Over the decades, winners have created a snowball effect when it comes to the lengthy list of thank-yous they squeeze in.
Thanks to some archival digging by HSBC Bank as part of its “Together, We Advance” campaign, we can pinpoint just who thanked their mom, dad, or even the viewers at home for the first time in Oscar history. Fun fact: Women are more likely to forget their significant others when in a thanking frenzy at the podium!
Read on to discover the first winner to say thank you to
Only One Person
Gone with the Wind‘s Vivien Leigh. The 1939 Best Actress winner only saluted the film’s producer by name, David Selznick. “If I were to mention all those who have shown me such wonderful generosity through Gone with the Wind, I should have to entertain you with an oration as long as Gone with the Wind itself,” she said, also marking the first acceptance speech recorded in the archives.
It was 1943, and Greer Garson had just won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Mrs. Miniver. After more than five minutes at the podium, she was cut off, but not before she set a world record for the longest Oscars acceptance speech.
In 1947, A Double Life‘s Ronald Coleman made sure to give a little credit to his fellow castmates after nabbing the award for Best Actor.
It wasn’t until 13 years after Greer Garson mentioned her mother that an actor thanked his father on stage. Ernest Borgnine gave his “Pop, for being steadfast,” a shoutout in 1955 after his Best Actor win for Marty.
John Wayne received the 1969 Best Actor honor for his role in True Grit and didn’t let the millions of folks watching from their couches go unnoticed. He immediately thanked “all you people watching on television.”
Mom and Dad (Using Sign Language!)
Louise Fletcher thanked both of her parents in sign language for her Best Actress win in 1975, saying, “Thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.”
When in doubt, address everybody. Kim Basinger gave a foolproof speech in 1998 while accepting her win for L.A. Confidential. “I just want to thank everybody I have ever met in my entire life,” she said.
Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughey thanked all of the regulars in his 2014 win for Dallas Buyers Club – God, his costars, mom, dad, brother, to name a few. But he also made sure to pay tribute to his hero: “Me, in 10 years,” he said.
Five years ago, Oscar producers finally drew the line and issued a modified gag order on speeches – a 45-second limit.
What other friends or family members (or pets?) will make it into the Oscar thank-you archive this year?