The 92nd Academy Awards is in the history books and there were some great additions to the ceremony’s long line of best acceptance speeches. Some were extremely gracious and humble, like several of the instances in which “Parasite” writer/director Bong Joon Ho went up on stage. Others made bold statements about representation in the industry such as “Joker” composer Hildur Guðnadóttir. Then there were some that became a rallying point like “American Factory” director Julia Reichert. Looking back, here are the six best speeches from the 2020 Oscars that really stood out. Do you agree with my picks? Let us know in the comments below.
Best Director and International Feature: Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”
It was a relief to see that Bong had different things to say for each of his wins. During his win for International Feature, he expressed his gratitude at being the first recipient of the newly re-named prize and then gave a shout out to the whole cast and crew of “Parasite” that were there and had them all stand up to a rousing applause. When he pulled off a shocking win for Director, he paid tribute to studying Martin Scorsese’s films and thanked Quentin Tarantino for bringing attention to his movie’s before he was a known quantity. In recognizing the other nominees, Sam Mendes and Todd Phillips, Bong said “If the Academy allows, I would like to get a Texas chainsaw, split the Oscar trophy into five and share it with all of you.” He capped both those speeches by saying, “I will drink until next morning.”
Best Picture: Miky Lee, “Parasite”
Even though she was not one of the producers who won for “Parasite,” Lee deserves a special shout out. After Kwak Sin Ae finished her speech, Lee, the vice chair of CJ Group who oversees their entertainment and media business, went up to say something but the lights on stage went down to signal the end of the show. But the audience was having NONE OF IT. They started shouting, “Up! Up! Up!,” and applauded when they came back up. Lee said how she likes everything about Bong, “his smile, his crazy hair…his sense of humor and the fact is he can be really making fun of himself and he never takes himself seriously.” She then paid tribute to the Korean audiences who were the cornerstone of making this film the success that it has become. “Without you…we are not here.”
Best Original Score: Hildur Guðnadóttir, “Joker”
Sometimes it’s just nice to see someone who is genuinely touched by an incredible moment and that’s what we got to see with Guðnadóttir’s speech. After thanking the Academy for “welcoming me so warmly,” she became mixed with tears and laughter as she thanked her mother and son since she didn’t know where they were seated in the Dolby Theater. But then she closed with a powerful message to fellow female composers and musicians, “To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up. We need to hear your voices.”
Best Documentary Feature: Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar, “American Factory”
Reichert kicked off her speech with a great shout out to her fellow nominees by mentioning each one’s subject and recognizing that they, “risked their lives making stories, bringing stories to us…We were so proud, we are inspired by you guys.” She then payed tribute to the factory workers all over the world and the eroding solidarity that unions are supposed to provide. “Working people have it harder and harder these days and we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.” Bognar also gave a great closing in saluting the people of Dayton, Ohio.
Best Documentary Short Subject: Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva
Dysinger explained how her win was like her career coming around full circle since she received a Student Academy Award from Frank Capra in 1977. She then paid tribute to the country of Afghanistan and the film was “my love letter to the brave girls of that country.” Then she acknowledged the role of teachers in her life, how they have shaped the kind of teacher she tries to be at NYU and the teachers at Skateistan. “They teach girls courage, to raise your hand, to say: I am here. I have something to say. And I’m gonna to take that ramp, don’t try to stop me.”
Best Animated Short Film: Karen Rupert Toliver and Matthew A. Cherry, “Hair Love”
Toliver started off the speech with a great explanation as to why representation is so important to have in animation. “Representation matters deeply. Especially in cartoons, because in cartoons that’s when we first see our movies and it’s how we shape our lives and think about how we see the world.” Cherry, a former professional football player, then added that, “We wanted to normalize black hair. There’s a very important issue that’s out there; it’s the Crown Act. And if we can help to get this passed in all 50 states, it will help stories like DeAndre Arnold’s, who’s our special guest tonight, stop to happen.” Arnold was recently suspended by his school in Texas when they said that his dreadlocks violated the school’s dress code.
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