Oscars 2014: Top 5 Acceptance Speeches from Lupita Nyong’o to Jared Leto


2014 Oscar acceptance speeches

Lupita Nyong’o hugs her brother Peter at the Oscars
Photo: AMPAS

While live-blogging the Oscars you really don’t get too much of a chance to take in all the acceptance speeches. I catch a few moments here and there, and I can pretty much tell when the air is being let out of the room as well as those moments where someone is really capturing the moment. What I’ve put together below are the five speeches where I think the winner really managed to stand-out.

I also love the true excitement coupled with the words chosen in these speeches. Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, especially, seemed to capture the room with her infectious smile as much as Jennifer Lawrence a year before, not to forget her brother, Peter, who photobombed Ellen’s Twitter-breaking selfie and is clearly someone very special in Lupita’s life and she in his.

The only truly strange thing about these speeches is John Ridley and Steve McQueen failing to thank or show appreciation for one another. Apparently this is a beef having to do with screenplay credit and it really shows a certain petty side of things considering it’s something that has clearly gotten between the two for itself to manifest in such a way during the actual show.

Following the speeches below I’ve included the transcripts and on the second page I’ve included even more speeches and their transcripts, but the five directly below were definitely my favorite.

Best Supporting Actress
Lupita Nyong’o

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Yes! Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own. Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position. This has been the joy of my life. I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I.

Chiwetel, thank you for your fearlessness and how deeply you went into telling Solomon’s story. Michael Fassbender, thank you so much. You were my rock. Alfre and Sarah, it was a thrill to work with you. Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room, thank you. Sean Bobbitt, Kalaadevi, Adruitha, Patty Norris, thank you, thank you, thank you, I could not be here without your work.

I want to thank my family for your training and the Yale School of Drama as well for your training. My friends, the Wilsons, this one’s for you. My brother, Junior, sitting by my side. Thank you so much. You are my best friend. And Ben, my other best friend, my chosen family.

When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.

Thank you.

Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto

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Incredible. Ellen, I love you. To my fellow nominees, I’m so proud to share this journey with you. I’m in awe and have so much respect for you all. To the Academy, thank you. In 1971, Bossier City, Louisiana, there was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged her kids to be creative, to work hard and to do something special. That girl is my mother and she’s here tonight. And I just want to say, I love you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me to dream. To my brother, Shannon, the best big brother in the world, you’re a true artist. Thank you so much for sharing this insane and amazing adventure that is 30 Seconds to Mars, and for being my best friend. I love you. Thank you.

To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here and as you struggle to… to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible… We’re thinking of you tonight. And this is, is incredibly special as well because there’s so many people that helped me get here. And I just want to say thank you to Focus Features, to Mick Sullivan, to Jim Toth, to Jason Weinberg, to Emma Ludbrook, to Kelly Adams, to the entire Dallas Buyers Club team. Matthew, I love. Jean-Marc. And this for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you. Thank you so much and goodnight.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron

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Wow, thank you. Thanks to the Academy. Like any other human endeavor, making a film can be a transformative experience, and I want to thank Gravity because for many of us involved in this film, it was definitely a transformative experience. And it’s good, because it took so long that if not, it would be like a waste of time. What really sucks is that for a lot of these people, that transformation was wisdom; for me, it was just the color of my hair.

I want to share this with all these wise people who made this movie happen: my amazing son and co-writer Jonás Cuarón. Sandra Bullock. Sandy, you’re Gravity. You are the soul, the heart of the film. You’re the most amazing collaborator and one of the best people I ever met. George Clooney, for your absolute trust. David Heyman, Chivo and Tim Webber for making this film happen. The wise guys of Warner Bros., the wise people at Warner Bros., Kevin Tsujihara, Sue Kroll, […], Greg Silverman, Lynn Harris, Chris De Faria. And the film took so long that we went through two different administrations, so I have to honor as well Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov. Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro et Gabriela Rodriguez et Steve Rabineau, Henry Holmes et Jim Berkus, Tracey Jacobs, Cristina, [Spanish] Sheherazade, Bu, Olmo. [Spanish]. Bye guys.

Best Adapted Screenplay
John Ridley

Only Ridley’s name being announced as winner was available

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Thank you, all. I started writing in sitcoms a long time ago. And at that time I was very fortunate to meet a script coordinator who was gracious enough to read everything I wrote. And when she thought it was ready, she put a smiling face at the end and I knew that it was job done. And, Gayle, seeing you here tonight, smiling, you take away all that soul-crushing inadequacy. All the praise goes to Solomon Northup.

Those are his words. That is his life. All the thanks goes to the entire crew, the entire cast, to everyone at Fox Searchlight, at River Road, at New Regency and Plan B, Mr. Pitt, most especially to Dede and Jeremy Kleiner, you made this film happen. Jeremy, you made it happen.

Thank you so much. Mom, Dad, Lisa, Beth, John, Jason…all my love. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Best Picture
Brad Pitt & Steve McQueen

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Brad Pitt: Thank you all. Thank you for this incredible honor you bestowed on our film tonight. I know I speak for everyone standing behind me that it has been an absolute privilege to work on Solomon’s story. And we all get to stand up here tonight because of one man who brought us all together to tell that story. And that is the indomitable Mr. Steve McQueen.

Steve McQueen: Oh wow. I’m sorry, I apologize for the paper but otherwise I’ll just bore you all. Well, maybe I’ll do the same now but I’ll try not to. I’d first like to thank the Academy. Thank you so much. There are a lot of people for me to thank so I’ll just push on. My wonderful cast and crew, Plan B, Brad Pitt, who without him this film would just not have been made. Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Anthony Katagas. River Road, Bill Pohlad, New Regency, Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston. Film4, to the great Tessa Ross. And Fox Searchlight, Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley, and their fantastic team.

My publicist Paula Woods, I’m sorry about this, for her hard work. April Lamb, and my magnificent agents. I have to say this to all these women, I have all the women in my life and they’re all the most powerful. And my mother, obviously. Maha Dakhil – I can’t even pronounce it. Maha, I’m nervous, I can’t pronounce your name, you know who you are – Beth Swofford, Jenne Casarotto and Jodi Shields. Just give me one more minute. I’d like to thank this amazing historian, Sue Eakin, whose life, she gave her life’s work to preserving Solomon’s book. I’d like to thank my partner, Bianca Stigter, for unearthing this treasure for me. Finally, I thank my mother. My mum’s up there. Thank you for your hard-headedness, Mum, thank you. And my children, Alex and Dexter. And my father, thank you.

The last word: everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery. And the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today. Thank you very much. Thank you.

On the next page you’ll find the acceptance speeches from Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Steven Price (Gravity), Glenn Fremantle (Gravity), Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould (Gravity), Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho (Frozen), Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews (Dallas Buyers Club) and Catherine Martin (The Great Gatsby).

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