The 12 Best Acceptance Speeches In Oscar History

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You’d think, with all the speeches delivered every year at the Oscars, there’d be a formula to delivering a great one. There isn’t. A great Oscar speech is an enigma. Or perhaps it’s best summed up with the same language that the Supreme Court used to define pornography: “We know it when we see it.” In this case, it’s that certain combination of gratitude, celebration, emotion and personality that makes you involuntarily clap along with those in attendance.

Ruth Gordon – 1968 / Best Supporting Actress / “Rosemary’s Baby”

“I can’t tell ya how encouragin’ a thing like this is.” At age seventy-two, Ruth Gordon finally got some encouragement from the industry she’d worked in for over fifty years. Accepting the award for playing the nefarious Minnie Castevet in Roman Polanski’s body-horror classic, Gordon was sprightly and succinct, thanking the members of the Academy who voted for her. “And all of you who didn’t,” she chirped, “please excuse me.” Gracious, humble, and funny, all at once? That’s rare.

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