Oscars Unscripted: What surprises might come after 'I want to thank…'
Matthew McConaughey accepts the award for best actor in a leading role for 'Dallas Buyers Club' during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 2, 2014. (Invision / Matt Sayles)
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, February 22, 2015 7:42AM EST
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey’s heartfelt speeches as they picked up Oscars for their roles in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ were genuine highlights of last year’s Academy Awards ceremony. The speeches mark the few unscripted moments from a nearly four-hour show, and are a chance for viewers to see their favourite actors as their more natural selves.
Will Robert Duvall, nominated for best supporting actor for ‘The Judge’ pull a Jack Palance with some one-armed push-ups? Or will Benedict Cumberbatch, best actor nominee for ‘The Imitation Game,’ shush the orchestra conductor and joyfully shout his thanks yous for five minutes?
Looking at some of this year’s nominees and back at past shows, it may actually be quite easy to predict who may deliver the buzz-worthy moments.
Will America’s sweetheart shush the orchestra?
It was third time’s a charm for Julia Roberts in 2001, when she won best actress for her role in ‘Erin Brockovich.’ She maximized the moment.
“Sir you’re doing a great job, but you’re so quick with that stick so why don’t you sit because I may never be here again,” she told the orchestra conductor, who was tasked with playing long-winded winners off stage.
This year, Reese Witherspoon could win her second Academy Award for her role as the recovering drug addict and serial adulterer Cheryl Strayed in ‘Wild.’
Witherspoon used the film to shed her good-girl image and remind Hollywood of her acting chops, just as Roberts did with ‘Erin Brockovich.’
Will we see Witherspoon let loose in gratitude after clawing her way back to the top of her game?
She could also take some tips from Cuba Gooding, Jr., who won in 1999 for ‘Jerry Maguire’ and ignored the attempts to play him off.
“I love you, I’m going to keep going,” he shouted to wild applause, jumping around the stage.
Other best actress nominees: Marion Cotillard, ‘Two Days, One Night’; Felicity Jones, ‘The Theory of Everything.’; Julianne Moore, ‘Still Alice’; Rosamund Pike, ‘Gone Girl.’
Show-stopping moment in the spotlight?
Best supporting actor nominee for ‘Whiplash,’ J.K. Simmons, may not be a household name, but most viewers will recognize his face from myriad films and television shows.
He’s not a classic leading man type, but his latest film role has finally put him in the Hollywood spotlight.
He could take inspiration from the star of another music film, Jamie Foxx, who won best actor in 2005 for ‘Ray,’ and have a little fun with the crowd. Foxx opened his speech by guiding the audience in the call and response from Charles’s ‘What’d I Say?’ Perhaps Simmons can jump into the orchestra pit and hammer out the drum solos his character demanded from one of his students.
Or, he could go full Palance, who revelled in a career revival with his role as an aging cowpoke in ‘City Slickers’ in 1992 by hitting the deck and crushing some one-armed push-ups.
Other best supporting actor nominees: Robert Duvall, ‘The Judge’; Ethan Hawke, ‘Boyhood’; Edward Norton, ‘Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’; Mark Ruffalo, ‘Foxcatcher.’
The journeywoman’s victory?
Best supporting actress nominee for ‘Boyhood,’ Patricia Arquette has had a hot-and-cold career. She’s had strong movie and TV roles but has yet to become a household name.
She could gain instant notoriety if she follows the example of another Hollywood journeywoman, Melissa Leo, who won in 2011 for ‘The Fighter.’
Leo, speechless and flustered, dropped an F-bomb. “When I watched Kate do it two years ago it looked so f----- easy,” she said. “Whoops!”
Arquette could also follow Joe Pesci’s lead. If, as Shakespeare tells us, “brevity is the soul of wit,” Pesci’s 1991 best supporting actor speech for ‘Goodfellas’ got it down to five words.
“It’s my privilege, thank you,” Pesci said with a smile before walking off stage.
Other best supporting actress nominees: Laura Dern, ‘Wild’; Keira Knightly, ‘The Imitation Game’; Emma Stone, ‘Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’; Meryl Streep, ‘Into the Woods.’
The superhero sheds his cape?
In a case of art imitating life, Michael Keaton is nominated for best actor for ‘Birdman,’ in which he plays an aging action hero reinventing his career on Broadway.
Keaton, who originated the lead role in the Batman series in1989, could take some tips from a subsequent Batman, George Clooney, who won best supporting actor in 2006 for Syriana.
Clooney revelled in the fact that now, news reports would say that “Oscar winner George Clooney” had died and not “sexiest man alive 1997” or “Batman.”
He then paid homage to his fellow nominees, saying it’s unfair to compare performances in different roles.
“Everybody put on a bat suit,” he joked, before hailing the others’ “stellar” performances.
Other best actor nominees: Steve Carell, ‘Foxcatcher’; Bradley Cooper, ‘American Sniper’; Benedict Cumberbatch, ‘The Imitation Game’; Eddie Redmayne, ‘The Theory of Everything.’