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History of Oscar Speeches Part 2

Oscar statues

While Will’s blog post about our first Oscar speech data visualisation is about speech length (which you can read here), this one gives a little more detail behind who is thanked by the winners. Beyond the typical ‘thanks mum’, we broke down each speech category into the people mentioned in the acceptance speeches, looking at thanked family members, mentions of the crew, co-stars, management teams, hair & beauty assistants and, of course, lawyers. It is Hollywood after all.

Scroll through the below pie charts to see how many times individual types of people are thanked, and then we have some bonus quiz questions for your enjoyment. Why not challenge someone slightly less Oscar-weary than we are.

Oscar speech data visualisation

Interesting Facts:

Only one animal has ever been thanked in an Oscar speech. Which?

When Anna Paquin won Best Supporting Actress in 1993 for her role in “The Piano”, she thanked Beanie – the film’s dog. She was only 11 at the time, and thanked Beanie for ‘looking after her on set’.

Who has the longest acceptance speech so far?

D.A. Pennebaker, who won the Honorary Award in 2012, gave a speech of 2635 words. This is 20 times longer than your average Oscar acceptance speech.

Five speeches only contained two words. Which do you think they would be?

‘Thank you.’

Three actresses have used sign language during their acceptance speeches. Who?

Louise Fletcher in 1975, awarded best Actress for her performance in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest”. Louise thanked her parents, who are both deaf.

Jane Fonda in 1978, awarded Best Supporting Actress for “Coming Home”. Jane explained she was using sign language because, “while [she was] making the movie, became more aware of the problems of the handicapped. Over 14 million people are deaf. They are the invisible handicapped and can't share this evening, so this is my way of acknowledging them.”

Marlee Matlin in 1986, awarded Best Actress for her role in “Children of a Lesser God”. Marlee lost her hearing at a young age and was the youngest actress to win the Best Actress award.

Two award winners mentioned one specific camera type as being instrumental in inspiring them while they were young. What is the camera?

Michael Giacchino, winner of the award for Music (Best Original Score) in 2009 for his work on Up, and Nick Park, winner of Short Film (Animated) for Wallace & Gromit in 1995, both specifically mention being inspired by using wind-up 8mm cameras when they were children.

There have been a few instances of winners decorating their statues. Any guesses as to how?

Nick Park and Steve Box, award winners for 2005’s Animated Feature Film with Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, added bow ties to their statues to match theirs ‘for coordination’.

The team behind the winning Art Direction in 2010 for Alice in Wonderland added a miniature Mad Hatter wig and hat on their statue.

Someone took to the stage to perform some press-ups during his acceptance speech. Who?

Jack Palance, who won Best Supporting Actor in 1991 for his role in City Slickers, spoke about how producers may have felt he had reached a ‘certain age plateau’ and would look for younger actors to take his place. He then walked away from the podium to do a series of one-armed press ups to get them to think twice.

Who wished her Oscar statuette a happy birthday, before comparing him to her American agent who had ‘really truly the same shape head, and, it has to be said, the buttocks’?

Tilda Swinton, accepting her award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her performance in Michael Clayton.


Still not had your fill of Oscars content? Check out our interactive Oscar dress infographic.