Oscar Limits Acceptance Speeches

March 14, 2001 -- The producer of this year's Academy Awards ceremony is making Oscar winners an offer he hopes they won't refuse: a 45-second limit on their acceptance speeches.

Gil Cates, a veteran producer of the hours-long live telecast, advised Oscar nominees of the gag order Monday at the annual nominee lunch.

Hanks Doubts He Could Comply

If winners can't thank mom, dad, God, and their agent in under a minute, however, they have an alternative. The academy is offering to post exhaustive lists of "thank yous" on the official Oscars site.

"You can hand us a list of all the people you want to thank. It will then be run on the [www.oscars.com] Web site under the winner's picture."

If Tom Hanks wins his third Best Actor Oscar this year, he says he can't promise to stick to a prepared script.

The two-time Oscar winner, whose acceptance speech for Forrest Gump marked a new standard for off-topic rambling, told Mr. Showbiz Monday: "I don't think it's possible to stick to a prepared speech. I always try to have five things to say and I always screw up one of them and forget another one completely. It's not something you can control — [it's] like jumping out of an airplane."