And the Oscar goes to......

Clifton Webb's Membership Card 1966

The Margaret Herrick Library is a mecca for all kinds of film reasearch and film studies.  One of the fun things recently added to the Academy website is a database of acceptance speeches for Academy Award winners.  My goodness how things have changed!  Back in the day, acceptance speeches were fairly brief and to the point.  Unlike todays litany of names being thanked from parents to babysitters as well as the caterer who served at your last party.  (Okay, call me jaded)

Not all years and all winners are represented.  I'm devastated that George Sanders did not give an acceptance speech for his award for his work in All About Eve as the delicious Addison deWitt.

In any case, this is one of many fun features on the Academy website.  A complete searchable database of past winners and nominees is useful and online. 

The Academy also has a youtube channel showing acceptance speeches and other favorite moments like the infamous streaker.

Here are a few samples from the database of acceptance speeches:

Year: 1947 (20th) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Supporting Role
Film Title: Miracle on 34th Street
Winner: Edmund Gwenn
Presenter: Anne Baxter
Date & Venue: March 20, 1948; Shrine Civic Auditorium


Whoow! Now I know there's a Santa Claus. Oh, you may laugh, ladies and gentlemen. It's not so easy to be certain, you know. He's a most elusive little fellow. He turns up in all sorts of places under all sorts of names and disguises. First time I ever met him he told me his name was George Seaton. And wonderfully, George Seaton has his revenge by bringing him to life. About a year and a half ago he suddenly turned up in Culver City and told me his name was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. That was the day Metro agreed to loan me to Fox to make the picture. And now I think it's time Santa Claus added a word to his name. I think he ought to call himself Santa Claus, Incorporated. Santa Claus, Inc. Inc.! For then he would embrace all you wonderful, kind people who have done me the honor of making me stand here tonight. Thank you, all of you, for making the evening of my life such a happy one. Thank you.

© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Year: 1947 (20th) Academy Awards

Category: Actor
Film Title: A Double Life
Winner: Ronald Colman
Presenter: Olivia de Havilland
Date & Venue: March 20, 1948; Shrine Civic Auditorium


Ladies and gentlemen, I am very happy and very proud and very lucky. Lucky because I know I wouldn't be standing on this stage tonight without the grand contributions of so many others. A great script and a great part from Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin. The wonderful help of George Cukor, Michael Kanin and Bill Goetz. And I'm not forgetting a splendid cast and all the departments that gave their skill and talents to making this picture. So, to all of them especially, my deepest gratitude. And to you, ladies and gentlemen, my warmest thanks.

© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences


Year: 1942 (15th) Academy Awards

Category: Directing
Film Title: Mrs. Miniver
Winner: William Wyler (not present; accepted by his wife, Margaret Tallichet Wyler)
Presenter: Frank Capra
Date & Venue: March 4, 1943; Ambassador Hotel, Cocoanut Grove (banquet)


Thanks so much, everybody. It makes me very happy to accept the award for Willy. I wish he could be here. He's wanted an Oscar for a long time and I know it would thrill him an awful lot to be here. Probably as much as that fight over [unintelligible] did. Thank you so much.

© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences


Meredith said…
David Niven's response to the streaker never gets old. What a great find!

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