Oscars: Watch 10 of the Longest Acceptance Speeches Ever

10:00 AM 2/28/2016

by Keely Wold

Best actress winner Greer Garson spoke for more than five minutes in 1943, which many believe led to the time limits imposed on honorees.

cuba gooding jr Oscar - Photofest - H 2016
Courtesy of Photofest

cuba gooding jr Oscar - Photofest - H 2016

In 2010, the Oscar acceptance speech time limit was reduced to 45 seconds, and this year, producers asked nominees to send them a list of all those they would like to thank. The producers are hopeful that this will end the lengthy tradition of winners producing a handwritten list of names, or running out of time before they get to speak "from the heart about the art, about the vision, about the experience, about the meaning of the moment," producer David Hill explained. To welcome this new era of Oscar speechmaking, take a look back at 10 of the Oscars' most longwinded winners.

  • Greer Garson

    In 1943, Greer Garson won the best actress statuette and set an Oscar speech length record all in one night. She spoke for more than five minutes, which many consider to be the original rationale for giving the winners time limits.

  • Hilary Swank

    Hilary Swank received the award for best actress in 2000 for her performance in Boys Don't Cry. The three-minute speech seemed longer than it was because much of the time was spent reading names off a note she had brought to the stage.

  • Adrien Brody

    Adrien Brody created an especially memorable Oscar moment when he accepted his statuette for The Pianist by kissing presenter Halle Berry. The best actor winner spoke three minutes over the Oscar’s 45-second limit. He not only acknowledged the flashing “Time’s up!” screen during his speech but also asked the producers to turn the exit music off when it came on a minute later, saying: “One second, please. Cut it out.” His speech garnered a standing ovation.

  • Cuba Gooding Jr.

    Cuba Gooding Jr. received the Oscar for best supporting actor in 1996 for his performance in Jerry Maguire. He may not have had the longest speech of all time, but he did have the longest speech over the exit music. The actor gave the producers the go-ahead to cut him off when the time came when he began, but as the music began to play, he extended his speech and shouted his thanks over the music for nearly a whole minute.

  • Pawel Pawlikowski

    When Ida won the award for best foreign-language film at last year's ceremony, Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski was able to remember his lengthy speech right over the top of the orchestra's crescendo. 


  • Al Pacino

    According to Statista, one of the five lengthiest speeches (by word count, coming in at 475) of the last 25 years was Al Pacino's 1993 acceptance for Scent of a Woman. Pacino brought a note to the podium, exactly what the Academy is hoping to avoid this year.

  • Jamie Foxx

    Fourth on Statista's list is Jamie Foxx, who won best actor in 2005 for his portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray. Foxx spent the last minute of his 490-word speech with a moving thank-you to his grandmother, his first acting coach.

  • Cate Blanchett

    In 2013, Cate Blanchett received the best actress award from the Academy for her role in Blue Jasmine. The speech had the third -ighest word count (513) of the last 25 years, partially because she began the speech by graciously commending each of the other best actress contenders' performances individually.

  • Halle Berry

    Halle Berry's best actress acceptance speech in 2002 for Monster's Ball had the second-highest word count, coming in with a total of 528, according to Statista. She opened the speech in tears, dedicating the award to Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne and Diahann Caroll. Berry had previously portrayed Dandridge, the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Oscar, in the 1999 biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Berry was the first and remains the only woman of color to win the Academy Award for best actress.

  • Matthew McConaughey

    According to Statista, Matthew McConaughey gave the longest speech (549 words) of the last 25 years when he won best actor for his portrayal of Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey explained his method of motivating himself ("chasing my hero") and treated the audience to his Dazed and Confused trademark "alright, alright, alright" in the speech's final moments.