On the eve of the show, I started thinking about how boring the acceptance speeches usually are. You know the ones – from the “I’d like to thank my agent, my publicist, my manager, my stylist, my mother” laundry lists – to those that elicit groans because the winner says coyly, “I didn’t prepare anything because I didn’t expect to win.”
I was musing on all this, as I said, when – lo and behold – I came upon an article on Yahoo that addresses the very subject. Apparently, the Oscar producers have specifically told the nominees not to thank everybody in the universe.
“Leave your list in your pocket,” Oscar producer Bruce Cohen advised contenders at their annual nominees luncheon three weeks before the show. “Nothing is more deadly than a winner reading a list of names.”
I couldn’t agree more. But I also know that when your client or friend or spouse is standing up at the podium in front of millions of people, it’s kind of cool to be recognized for your contribution. So the solution is not that simple, as David Seidler, the screenwriter of “The King’s Speech,” explained.
“You’re stuck. If you don’t thank a long list of people, you have a long list of people very upset, and if you do thank a long list of people, you have a billion people out in the audience bored stupid,” Seidler said.
What’s a winner to do? Speak from the heart. Let us share what you really feel about winning, about what it was like to make the film and do the work and collaborate with others. And then – if there’s time and they haven’t started playing the get-the-hook music yet – thank your spouse or your parents or your kids and save the hugs and handshakes for the stylist and publicist for the after-party.
Of course, if someone wants to do push-ups like Jack Palance did all those years ago, I wouldn’t mind at all.