Emmys: Which Actors Would Give the Best Acceptance Speeches in Character?
Will anyone try to top Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Selina Meyer?
Few actors can make as memorable an acceptance speech as Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Back when she nabbed the Golden Globe for her Seinfeld supporting role in 1994, she lightheartedly noted that she's "so happy to have a job and to have a house that stands," and thanked "everyone I've ever known." And when she won the best comedy actress Emmy for Veep in 2012, she read remarks that were penned by her fellow nominee, Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler.
But fast forward to last year's hilarious Emmy moment, when the actress accepted the honor as the ineffective vice president Selina Meyer. While repeatedly clearing her throat and forgetting people's names, Tony Hale, as her onscreen assistant Gary, very characteristically whispered a reminder to thank her family. Meanwhile, Anna Chlumsky, as detail-oriented campaign manager Amy, stayed glued to her cell phone in the audience.
She then repeated the ritual when acknowledged at the 2014 Screen Actors Guild awards — after initially reading acceptance speeches for receiving a Golden Globe and an Oscar, she hounded Matt Walsh, as media manager Mike, for the occasion's proper note card.
So in an ideal, Dreyfus-like world, Sunday's Emmy Awards ceremony would be chock-full of in-character acceptance speeches. Though The Hollywood Reporter has already revealed who should win and who will win based on season-long performances and TV industry trends, we now note which nominees would most effectively bring their onscreen portrayals to the Nokia Theatre stage:
Lead Actor, Drama: Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Following McConaughey's now-signature line, "All right, all right, all right," the nihilistic Rust Cohle — aka "the Michael Jordan of being a son of a bitch" — would then manifest at the mic. "People out here, it's like they don't even know the outside world exists, might as well be living on the f---ing moon," he'd say to and of the industry crowd, slowly and with a stoic face. "It's all one ghetto, man, a giant gutter in outer space." And to his fellow nominees, "People incapable of guilt usually do have a good time."
Lead Actress, Drama: Robin Wright, House of Cards
Claire Underwood, the oft-unreadable anti-heroine, would bring her powerful husband, Francis (Kevin Spacey) onstage with a canned but icy smile. She'd wax poetic about the innovative storytelling technique that Netflix presents, all in her character's signature rhythm that was cleverly parodied by Ellen Barkin in The Tonight Show's "House of Cue Cards." In thanking creator Beau Willimon, she'd note, "Be honest about how you're using me just like you use everyone else. You don't want to make an enemy out of me." Then the Underwoods would share a cigarette.
Supporting Actor, Drama: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
In picking up his third Emmy, Jesse Pinkman would litter his mostly-shouted speech with a ton of "yo" and "bitch" exclamations, while also thanking Mr. White over and over again for believing in him. "Say the words. Say you want this. Nothing happens until I hear you say it," he'd say to fans, quoting his major series finale moment, and then would probably close with a good ol' science/magnets reference, "Yeah, Emmys!" (He could also reprise his more recently filmed Barely Legal Pawn persona, but only if alongside Bryan Cranston as well.)
Supporting Actress, Drama: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, would take the stage and first scowl a bit at the unsuitably dressed attendees from her stage view. "Why does every day involve a fight with an American?" she'd say of the race. "Life is a game, where the player must appear ridiculous." But she wouldn't wrap up without a semi-encouraging word for her fellow nominees: "Don't be defeatest, dear. It's very middle class."
Lead Actor, Comedy: Ricky Gervais, Derek
The creator and star of the heartwarming series would walk onstage in small steps — hunched over, possibly holding a frog, and touting Derek's open-mouth facial expression before beginning a speech about how he's thankful for the Emmy, though everyone would have one if he had his way. He'd then go on about how gleeful television can be for people, and then repeat the series' most golden moment: "Kindness is magic. It's more important to be kind than clever or good-looking. I'm not clever or good-looking, but I'm kind." And his sendoff music would definitely be "Hamster on a Piano."
Lead Actress, Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Of course! This time, after a few overly confident remarks about this year's race, and the unforgettable season-three quote, "All my orgasms have come at once," administrative maven Sue (Sufe Bradshaw) would interrupt her boss' big moment with an even more pressing matter — say, a call with an international leader — that absolutely cannot wait. Selina would naturally drop a well-placed F-bomb and walk offstage.
Supporting Actor, Comedy: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
While Burrell's 2011 acceptance speech featured a fun joke about his late father's opinion about wearing makeup to work each day, a full-on Phil Dunphy speech would be packed with Emmy-related puns and classic Phil's-osophy adages: "It really is true! The most amazing things that can happen to a human being will happen to you, if you just lower your expectations. And never be afraid to reach for the stars, because even if you fall, you'll always be wearing a Parentchute."
Supporting Actress, Comedy: Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is The New Black
Red, the Litchfield prison's kitchen queen, would share a few lessons about the awards race's struggle, complete with her character's Russian accent: "The second you're perceived as weak, you already are," she'd tell the audience in an intimidating tone. "You've gotta hit rock bottom before you know which direction to go in." Then she'd close with remarks about how dinner isn't served at such a high-profile event and tell everyone to grab a few decadent pastries from her business the next time they're in New York City.
Which actors do you hope to see in-character acceptance speeches? Sound off in the comments below!