Joe Pesci gave what may be the shortest acceptance speech in Oscar history when he won best supporting actor honors for his role of Tommy DeVito in 1990’s Goodfellas.
When it was time to receive his award for portraying the foul-mouthed, violent, ill-tempered mobster, Pesci, who turned 73 on Tuesday, took just a moment to collect himself before saying only five words: “It’s my privilege. Thank you.”
Although it was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture and best director, Pesci’s was the only win for Goodfellas.
It was also in that role of Tommy that Pesci gave one of the most memorable lines in movie history: “Funny how? I mean, funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh?”
Friend and fellow actor Daniel Stern recalled to The Hollywood Reporter that Pesci was one of the most talented actors ever on screen, pointing out that in the same year he won the Oscar for playing the f-bomb-dropping, murderous gangster, Pesci also starred alongside Stern in the family comedy Home Alone. In that holiday classic — one of the highest-grossing comedies of all time — Pesci would speak in mumbling rants when in pain, a trick the actor and director Chris Columbus came up with so the otherwise tough-guy actor wouldn’t accidentally cuss.