Top 6 Oscar acceptance speeches: Guillermo del Toro, Frances McDormand, Allison Janney …

Man, there were some great speeches at Sunday’s Oscars. Some were wordy and made grand points about the times we live in, like Best Director winner Guillermo del Toro. Others were simple and stood out because of a clever or memorable line like Allison Janney did when she won Best Supporting Actress. With that in mind, here’s a look at the six speeches that stood out the most during this year’s Oscar ceremony. Scroll down to vote in our poll at the bottom of this post, and check out the full list of winners right here.

BEST DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

While it’s been clear to most of us that del Toro would win this honor for several months now, the director seemed a little startled when Emma Stone called his name. But if he was nervous to speak in front of that massive crowd, he hid it very well. Del Toro gave a quick and beautiful speech about how great art “erases the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper.” He also threw in a great callback to James Cagney‘s Oscar winning role in “Yankee Doodle Dandee” by saying, “My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My brothers and sisters thank you. And I thank you.” Pure class.

BEST ACTRESS: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Always one of the most outspoken figures at any Hollywood event, McDormand seems gleefully unconcerned with what others think of her, so you can usually count on her to speak her mind without a filter. Her Best Actress acceptance speech was no exception. She asked all the female nominees in the room to stand up, but it wasn’t just a symbolic moment of solidarity. It was a moment of advocacy worthy of “Norma Rae” when she said, “We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Don’t talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days, or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them.” She also advocated for the use of an “inclusion rider” in actors’ contracts to require cast and crew to meet diversity standards.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

“I did it all by myself.” With those words, Janney owned the ceremony. But she was very quick to acknowledge that it actually was with the help of many that she was standing on that stage. She quickly ran through her representatives and “I, Tonya” crew, but also managed to give a shout out to Joanne Woodward and the bird that helped give added life to her performance.


The fact that Peele’s film actually prevailed here is cool enough on its own, but Peele also had some great things to say about perseverance. “I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible. But I kept going back to it because I knew that if someone let me make this movie that people would hear it and people would see it.” He closed his speech by thanking the people who actually went to see the movie and helped it become the word-of-mouth success that it is. “I love you for shouting out at the theater, for shouting out at the screen.” Now Mr. Peele, they’re shouting at their TV screens for you.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: James Ivory, “Call Me by Your Name”

The 89-year-old veteran was greeted with a deserved standing ovation for taking home his first career Oscar. He first thanked “Call Me” author Andre Aciman “who wrote a story about first love and is familiar to most of us whether we are straight or gay or somewhere in-between.” He also added tributes to his “life’s partners” who had passed away: Ruth Parker Jhabvala (who had won this category twice) and Ismail Merchant. He saluted the work they did together and said that by voting for him, they were also honoring them.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Coco,” Darla K. Anderson and Lee Unkrich

Anderson started her remarks with the wonderful statement that their film is “proof that art can change and connect the world, and this can only be done when we have a place for everyone and anyone who feels like an ‘other’ to be heard.” The co-writer Adrian Molina thanked the Latino community, his family and his husband. Unkrich then took the microphone to salute the country of Mexico and the culture that helped inspire the film. He also declared that he wanted to see a world where every kid could see a story that reflects their experience. He added, “Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.” He then graciously let the film’s star, Anthony Gonzalez, close the speech in Spanish by saying, “Many thanks to everyone and long live Mexico!”

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