Jodie Foster and the art of dropping acceptance-speech bombs
(Reuters) - As Jodie Foster proved at the Golden Globes on January 13, it's not the endless, tearful lists of boring thank-yous to producers, agents, directors and God that make headlines, it's those unexpected revelations, demonstrations and surprises. Here are a few of the bomb-dropping acceptance speeches that have entered into the annals of award season.
* "She makes all things possible." - Helen Reddy, 1973 Grammy Awards, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
"I Am Woman" won Helen Reddy a Grammy in 1973. And no one had any argument with that: She was wearing a dress and everything. It was her mention of God as "She" that was controversial. People were fine with Helen being Woman. That she might out the Almighty as being one, too, was less popular.
* "He … very regretfully cannot accept." - Sacheen Littlefeather for Marlon Brando, 1973 Academy Awards, Best Actor
It wasn't so much something he said as it was sending someone else to say something. When Marlon Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather to reject his Oscar for "The Godfather" on his behalf - armed with a 15-page speech about why he was refusing his award, as the actor found the giving out of awards inappropriate "until the condition of the American Indian is drastically altered" - she managed to get in only 45 seconds before being escorted off the stage. The Academy has been wary of third-party statuette acceptance ever since.
* "Zionist hoodlums." - Vanessa Redgrave, 1978 Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actress
By the time Vanessa Redgrave picked up her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "Julia," there had already been protest at her nomination, given that she had funded a documentary on Palestine the same year. Her speech was impassioned and political, thanking the Academy for standing firm against a "small bunch of Zionist hoodlums" who were at that moment burning an effigy of her outside the theater. Screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky then took the opportunity of his award presentation (for Best Screenplay) to decry all political speeches (forgetting to actually read out the nominees), leading the winner of that award to decry those who would deny speechmakers free speech. Phew. The '70s, eh?
* "Any way they can." - Oliver Stone, 1979 Golden Globe Awards, Best Screenplay
For Oliver Stone, the words "thank you" couldn't cover his true feelings on accepting the Best Screenplay award for "Midnight Express" at the 1979 Golden Globes. Not nearly so much as a diatribe about the shortcomings of U.S. drug policy and a demand that the government allow "adults to pursue happiness in any way they can." Stone's unconventional (and possibly misplaced) version of gratitude to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was going very well until security guards appeared onstage to chase him off the microphone.
* "All 88 of you." - Sally Kirkland, 1988 Golden Globes, Best Actress in a Drama
Very few have used the stage to proposition an entire awards body. But at the 1988 Globes, Sally Kirkland did it. "This is to the Hollywood foreign press - all 88 of you - I'd like to take you home with me tonight," she gushed, before espousing the earnest desire that acting would one day bring about world peace. History, meanwhile, does not record whether the HFPA took her up on her very generous offer.
* "My high school drama teacher." - Tom Hanks, 1994 Academy Award, Lead Actor
Tom Hanks was very magnanimous in dedicating his Oscar for "Philadelphia" to a brilliant teacher he once had - who also happened to be gay. But maybe he could have checked whether said teacher was open about his sexuality with everyone he knew before announcing it to the world. Still, if he hadn't, the world would never have been blessed with the Kevin Kline comedy "In & Out." And where would we be then?
* "Would you please come up here, sir?" - Ving Rhames, 1998 Golden Globe Awards, Best Actor in a Miniseries
In 1998, Ving Rhames used his acceptance speech for Best Actor in a miniseries for "Don King" to reject his award and give it to reluctant fellow nominee Jack Lemmon instead - coming out as the nicest guy in Hollywood in the process.
* "I'm the king of the world!" - James Cameron, 1998 Academy Awards, Best Director
James Cameron requested a moment of silence for the many hundreds of victims of the sinking of the Titanic before punching the air and declaring himself "king of the world! Woooo hoo-hoo-hoo!" Sure, it's not the first time that someone has come out as a bit of a jerk live on air, but it may be the highest-rated time.
* "He just held me and said he loved me." - Angelina Jolie, 2000 Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actress
There's nothing wrong with loving your family. It's commendable and suitable to love one's sister, brother, whoever. What weirded people out at the 2000 Oscars, however, was Angelina Jolie coming out as being "in love" with her brother. Given Jolie's propensity for kookiness and slight ickiness - wearing Billy Bob Thornton's blood on a necklace wasn't, strangely, a look that caught on in the fashion world - people were quick to take her at her word.
* "Shame on you, Mr. Bush." - Michael Moore, 2003 Academy Awards, Best Documentary
No one expected political documentary maker Michael Moore to make a non-political acceptance speech after winning the Oscar for "Bowling for Columbine." But Moore's rallying cry of "Shame on you, Mr Bush, shame on you!" was more political than most people were comfortable with. It would have been a strong end to a speech, but, as some said, he didn't know when to stop, signing off with: "And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up." Which somewhat weakened his rhetoric.
* "Imma let you finish." - Kanye West, 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Best Female Video
Using your own acceptance speech to pay homage to a fellow artist is one thing (step forward, Ving Rhames). Using someone else's, meanwhile, is socially awkward, as Kanye West showed the world when he snatched the microphone out of Taylor Swift's hand during HER Grammy acceptance speech to announce it should have been given to Beyonce instead. A butt-clenchingly awkward moment, albeit one that gave birth to a fiercely hilarious meme that swept the world for months afterward..
* "I guess I have a sudden urge to say something." - Jodie Foster, 2013 Golden Globes, Lifetime Achievement Award
Did Jodie Foster use her Cecil B. DeMille Globes speech on Sunday to come out as gay or to come out as a celebrity who valued her private life? Despite the fact that she's spoken publicly about her sexuality as far back as 2007, the world's media declared the former - and took the excuse to talk about her private life publicly more than ever. So much for privacy.
(Editing by Kathy Jones and Douglas Royalty)
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