The Oscar night is one of the most eagerly awaited time of the year, whether you are a member of the Hollywood community or just a lover of the movies and the performers. It’s exciting to watch people go up on stage, pick their awards, give a passionate speech, and make you smile or cry or laugh. It ain’t that surprising when they go a bit crazy out of joy.
Some though do go a bit overboard.
While there are those whose words we can never have enough of.
But the surprise comes when someone chooses to talk little on that great and glamorous night, despite holding the golden statue in the hand and having so many eyeballs fixed on him or her. All those people waiting patiently to hear your acceptance speech, and eventually that speech turned out so short that I am sure a few would have looked quizzically around wondering whether they missed something. You did not, for these are indeed some of the shortest Oscar speeches given in the history of the Oscars!
Patty Duke (1963) / 2 words
Patty Duke famously played Hellen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker. The role won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. And oh my, wasn’t she grateful. Though all she could manage were those commonly heard words “Thank you” when she was handed the Oscar. The claps ran longer than her speech, didn’t they?
Louie Psihoyos (2010) / 2 words
Technically, you are given 45 seconds to make your Oscar acceptance speech. When the documentary feature film The Cove won the Oscar a few years back, producer Louie Psihoyos may have liked to thank a lot of people. But when fellow producer Fisher Stevens took up bulk of the time, all that Psihoyos could say was… well, you guessed it… “Thank you”. He did post a longer speech later on which you can view here.
Gloria Grahame (1953) / 4 words
Gloria Grahame starred in the stellar The Bad and The Beautiful that swept home 5 Oscars in the Academy Awards of 1953. And one of them was Grahame’s Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. So when her name was announced, she walked down the aisle amidst a round of applause, accepted the Award, and without wasting much time uttered “Thank you very much”, and left the stage leaving the audience and the presenter quite bemused. That’s a real quickie!
Alfred Newman (1953) / 4 words
Oh my, this Oscar ceremony would have ended quite early! Even Alfred Newman believed in keeping things succinct while collecting his Oscar for Best Musical Score (for the movie With a Song in my Heart) with a simple “Thank you very much”. To be fair, this part of the ceremony related to the music awards seems to have been done quickly as none of the winners took a lot of time. But Newman was in such a hurry that he almost forgot to collect the Oscar from Walt Disney who was presenting these awards. Well, Newman had already won 4 by then, so maybe he cared little! (He went on to win 9 Oscars in all)
William Holden (1954) / 4 words
Rapturous applause. The words “Thank you, thank you” uttered amidst all the noise. The applause continues. Oh wait, he has walked away. And the applause dies. Maybe the audience had not realised that this was all William Holden had to say when the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role was awarded to him for the war film Stalag 17. Among the nominees that night were Richard Burton who would go on to have 7 Oscar nominations in all and never win, and Montgomery Clift who would never win an Oscar despite 4 nominations. How they would have wanted to be on the stage that night and utter something more than just four plain words! But it was to be Holden’s moment after all, even though a brief one it turned out to be.
Joe Pesci (1991) / 5 words
Tough boys don’t cry, do they? No way, not if you are Joe Pesci. You would maybe break someone’s skull with your bare hands, but not let tears pour down your eyes. So when Goodfellas got him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Pesci said those famous words, “It’s my privilege. Thank you.” And now to shoot some f***ing piece of shit!