The Art of the Oscar Acceptance Speech

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Those who win an Oscar enter into a whole new competition when they give their acceptance speech: As if walking away with a little gold man wasn't enough of a feat, they must then make -- at the very least -- an acceptable acceptance speech in which they remember to thank all the important people.

But of course, it's better to be memorable.

When Sally Field won for best actress in "Places in the Heart" in 1984, she said, " You like me. Right now, you really like me."

Everyone loved that speech. But when "Bowling for Columbine" won for best documentary in 2003, Michael Moore brought the Oscar mirth to a screeching halt when he said, "Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you."

Sometimes, it's actions, not words, that makes the speech more memorable.

Jack Palance did push-ups when he won Best Supporting Actor for City Slickers in 1993.

Cuba Gooding Jr. displayed unbridled physical exuberance when accepting an Oscar for his performance in "Jerry Maguire."

But no one can top Roberto Benigni, who in 1999 turned his acceptance speech for "Life is Beautiful" into a virtual Olympic event by deciding to walk on the chairs instead of the steps to get the stage.

A brief speech is always appreciated by the producers, who will start to play music during the longer ones to try to rush things along.

Julia Roberts sure didn't appreciate that when she picked up her Oscar for best actress in "Erin Brockovich."

"You're so quick with that stick, mister man," she said as she stood at the podium in 2001. "So why don't you just sit down."

Greer Garson holds the record for the longest acceptance speech in history, going more than five minutes after picking up a statue for her role in 1942's "Mrs. Miniver."

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