Sunday, February 22, 2009

Attention Oscar winners: No laundry list of thank-yous, please!

As I was giving myself a mental reminder to watch the Academy Awards show, and hoping with all fervor that winners would keep their acceptance speeches short, I came across the musings of Dan Zak of the Washington Post. Zak shared an interesting observation about actors at awards presentations:

The Brits are experts at delivering brief, engaging speeches that are both methodical and seemingly improvised. Take a cue from Alec Guinness, who, while accepting a lifetime achievement award in 1980, told an anecdote from his drama school days and then relieved the teaching-moment tension with self-deprecation: The greatest lesson from acting class, he said, "was to do absolutely nothing at all. And that is, more or less, what I've done since then." A bit of irony -- he's confessing that his secret is doing nothing while he's holding an Oscar for his 50-year career! -- turns the speech into a performance piece in and of itself.

The piece is titled, most appropriately, Speech 101: Make It a Class Act. It's cleverly written. Check it out.

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Ian Lidster said...

I once saw Alec Guinness on stage in London, and I think that was one of the high points of my life, so brilliant was he.

Short and sweet, oh yes, and keep it simple. Since so many actors are simpletons to begin with, that shouldn't be so difficult.

And, I did not watch the Oscars at all. Doesn't have much meaning when you haven't seen any of the films.

Deb S. said...

Ian: Seeing Alec Guinness - what an experience that must have been!

I watched the awards show last night. I think what Dan Zak says about British actors has some validity. I have not seen any of the movies, but I've decided that I want to view some of them at one point.

I think Hugh Jackman was fabulous as the host. The singing, the dancing! For me, Hugh Jackman is eye candy. :-) That said, I think that he's very talented.

Media reviews of the awards show are probably mixed. I must say, though, that this was the first Academy Awards presentation in years that kept my attention.