Oscar Speech Advice From Eddie Winner Leo Trombetta
Oscar winners, you'll have 45 seconds to respond. What to say? Learn from what Leo Trombetta said while accepting his ACE Eddie Award on Saturday for editing Temple Grandin, the HBO movie starring Claire Danes.
"I didn't have anything formally prepared (i.e. written)," says Trombetta, whose speech nonetheless got the warmest response of the evening (though Christopher Nolan's filmmaker of the year award and Spielberg editor Michael Kahn's lifetime achievement award got louder responses). "But I did go up with a number of things I could possibly say, depending on how I felt the audience's mood was. I had cut out [a clipping] which started, 'No one pays much attention to the ACE Eddie Awards ...' because I felt like we were becoming the Rodney Dangerfields of the film business. Anyway, what I remember saying (more or less) was:
"I want to thank the American Cinema Editors and, in particular, those who voted in this category, for -- how did the L.A. Times put it? -- this 'somewhat obscure' award. (Happily, there was some laughter, which gave me the courage to pull the clipping from my pocket.) Did you read that? I also cut this out. It's from the Envelope -- the supplement in the L.A. Times Calendar section: 'No one pays much attention the the A.C.E. Eddie Awards.' (There was more laughter and some booing -- not directed at me, I hope.) Hey, but what do you expect, we're editors. We spend hour after hour laboring over every cut to ensure our work doesn't draw attention to itself and then we're disappointed when we're not mentioned in the reviews. (This got the biggest laugh, at which point I figured I should quit while I was ahead and thank the people connected with the show and get off.)"
See? All you have to do is think like an entertainer -- think of the audience, charm with a little self-deprecation, be fast, funny, and make everybody feel proud to be part of the dream business. Don't pull out a list of people to thank and read it off! As the Oscar show producers warned you at the Oscar lunch, it will only show off your bald spot.
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Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter, is one of the entertainment industry's most experienced and trusted experts about the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys. He started on the awards beat in 2001, writing for independent websites including his own ScottFeinberg.com before joining the Los Angeles Times and then THR, for which he writes “The Race” blog, which won the LA Press Club’s National Entertainment Journalism Award for best entertainment blog of 2012-2013. A voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics' Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association, he is also writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 500 high-profile Hollywood figures whose careers span the silent era through the present.
Follow Scott on Twitter at twitter.com/scottfeinberg.