Hollywood’s biggest night was marked yet again with many unforgettable moments and nods to award-worthy acting jobs and creativity. Despite the antics that host Ellen DeGeneres tried to pull that night and the many celebrity blunders on the red carpet and on stage, the winners gave unforgettable acceptance speeches that will surely go down in history as the most inspiring.
Not only did these speeches convey heartwarming thanks to the people who have inspired the artists for the production of the film, but they also served as acting tips and inspirations for aspiring talents, even those who are still struggling to go through hundreds of acting auditions. In honor of this year’s winners, we have compiled our top picks for the winning and unforgettable acceptance speeches at Oscars 2014.
Barely graduated from Yale School of Drama, Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong’o delivered the best speech of the night. It was simple and filled with gratitude yet she closed it with a very resounding message for every actor – beginner or veteran. Her parting words that struck people hard were, “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid”.
It was a short statement, but it was probably the most beautiful and most inspiring thing anyone had said that night. She was only trying to prove that culture, ethnicity and other circumstances should not stop people from dreaming of becoming successful, especially aspiring actors; a tried-and-tested advice on how to be an actor.
A second favorite speech for the night was Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto. The actor paid homage to his mother who has always encouraged him to be creative, work hard and do something special. He also dedicated his work and award to the millions of people who were battling AIDS and have felt injustice because of who they were and who they love.
Leto, who played a transgender AIDS patient for his movie comeback, Dallas Buyers Club, also addressed the “dreamers around the world” especially in Ukraine and Venezuela that there are people just standing by and thinking of them as they “make their dreams happen and live the impossible”.
3. Matthew McConaughey – Best Actor
Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughey has been noted during the past awards season to give cryptic and confusing acceptance speeches, but his Oscar acceptance speech was the highlight of them all. In his acceptance speech, he was able to talk about three things he needs each day: “someone to look up to, something to look forward to and someone to chase”.
In his speech, he notes that the someone he chases is his hero – himself who is always 10 years ahead of him. He further explained that he was never going to be as close as what he sees himself in 10 years and that is what keeps him chasing. Wanting to be that someone you would like to be in the future will involve hard work and determination to be as close to that success as possible and that is lesson worth learning.
4. Steve McQueen – Best Picture
Steve McQueen, who directed and co-produced (along with Brad Pitt) this year’s Best Picture 12 Years a Slave, gave his acceptance speech to honor their inspiration for the film – Solomon Northup. He dedicated his award to all those who have endured slavery and those who still suffer from it today. His last powerful words were: “Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live”. Survival is merely getting by day-to-day, but living feeds not only the body, but the heart and soul as well.
5. Alfonso Cuaron – Best Director
This year marked Alfredo Cuaron’s first official win for the Academy Awards. His very ambitious movie project, Gravity, was not only commercially successful, but was also a personal transformative experience for him that brought him wisdom in his craft. The struggle of an aspiring actor is similar to that of Cuaron’s – he took his ambition, endured the consequences of risks and, as a result, was able to come up with something life- and career-changing
Aspiring actors can draw inspiration from the deeper meaning of each acceptance speech because they all came from a wisdom that can only come from years of experience and thousands of acting auditions. A mere rejection was never a cause for these people to step back. Instead it was a challenge and a reality that a “no” can probably mean a “yes” to better opportunities and more acting jobs.