A Copywriter’s Top 10 Tips to Nailing the Perfect Oscar Acceptance Speech

A List by Leo Burnett USA’s Creative Director Frank Oles
  1. 10. Thank coworkers
    Greens fees! Were you drunk the last two years making this film? Start blurting out names. Thank the Academy, the director (be cool — call him by his first name), the producers, and supporting cast. Score even more points by thanking the little people, like that high school drama teacher who cast you as Dancer #6 in Grease. Want to take someone down a notch? Just mispronounce their name. Thanks Michael Blay!
  2. 9. Thank family
    Thanks Mom and Dad. Thanks family who I never see. Done. This is probably the most relatable part of your speech to the home audience. But these people aren’t bankrolling your next project. Spend 10 precious seconds here and move on. Bonus Points: Dedicate the film to a relative who died before film was finished.
  3. 8. Timing
    A-listers like Pacino can take up to three minutes. Joe Pesci got it right — his took only 5 seconds. If only they had Vine back then.
  4. 7. Enthusiasm!
    The bar here was set very high by Roberto Benigni in ’99. He stood on seats. He hopped up the steps. He wanted to French kiss the whole auditorium. With an adorable accent and some broken English you too can achieve Oscar immortality.
  5. 6. Be yourself
    This can be hard for an actor. They’ve assumed so many roles their own identity begins to get clouded. What’s left is hidden behind a veil of alcohol, drugs and fame, and windows tinted to block out TMZ reporters. If you can’t be genuine, try acting genuine. If all else fails, follow Clooney’s lead.
  6. 5. Kiss Someone
    Adrien Brody kissed Halle Berry. Angelina Jolie kissed her brother. Kissing seems to get the headlines. Just don’t kiss the statue. . Or Jacob Tremblay—he's only 9!
  7. 4. Marketing Tie Ins
    Fashion designers like Vera Wang get plenty of traction supplying gowns. Why be subtle? Thank the Egg McMuffin for helping you survive those early mornings in the wilderness with Alejandro González Iñárritu. Now McDonald’s is promoting your speech too. Their Oscar spot, by Leo Burnett Chicago, even volunteers a montage of delicious breakfast food, in case you’re not as camera-friendly as Leonardo. It’s 2016. Everyone sells out. Even this article is not immune from shameless plugs.
  8. 3. TALK LOUDER
    The orchestra chimed in after only 32 seconds for Cuba Gooding Jr., but he just talked over it and stole the show. Just keep talking louder and pretend like there’s no music at all. Never acknowledge the orchestra pit — they’ll get drunk with power.
  9. 2. Cry
    Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow and countless others have opened their tear ducts wide to give their speeches that little bit of extra emotion. How the hell did you win an Oscar if you can’t cry on command? NOTE: This kind of emotional display becomes more challenging with each subsequent Botox injection.
  10. 1. Talking animal or baby
    Hey, it always works for Super Bowl. Jonah Hill already stuck his toe in the water with that bear costume stunt at the Golden Globes. If the person who wins for visual effects doesn’t show up looking like a Wookie, a golden Oscar opportunity was missed.