A Copywriter’s 10 Tips for Nailing the Perfect Oscar Acceptance Speech

How to make the most of those 45 seconds

If your last name is Fassbender, DiCaprio or Blanchett, you're sweating right now. Not only is the pressure of winning an Oscar weighing on you like an 8.5-pound chunk of gold-plated pot metal, you've also got your agents and publicists breathing down your neck like a pack of Christian Louboutin-wearing hyenas. And even if you do win, you've still got to nail the acceptance speech, because think of the potential if it goes viral, baby!

No pressure…

Thankfully, the advertising community has your back. We're no strangers to maximizing the marketing potential of the award season's premier tentpole. The suggested length of an Oscar acceptance speech is 45 seconds. We can work with that. Just think how many 30-second spots could have achieved immortality with an extra 15 seconds!

Frank Oles

While there are no awards for best Oscar acceptance speeches, there are plenty of BuzzFeed Top 10 lists. So let's do what we do best and brainstorm 10 ways to break into the pantheon of great Oscar speeches. Or at least secure that lead image on the mobile feed of fans the next morning in between their Zumba class and a juice cleanse.

10. Thank co-workers.

Greens fees! Were you drunk the last two years making this film? Start blurting out names. Thank the Academy, the director (be cool—call him by his first name), the producers and supporting cast. Score even more points by thanking the little people, like that high school drama teacher who cast you as Dancer No. 6 in Grease. Want to take someone down a notch? Just mispronounce their name. Thanks Michael Blay!

9. Thank family.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. Thanks, family who I never see. Done. This is probably the most relatable part of your speech to the home audience. But these people aren't bankrolling your next project. Spend 10 precious seconds or less here and move on. Bonus points: Dedicate the film to a relative who died before the film was finished.

8. Keep it short.

Guys like Pacino can take up to three minutes. Joe Pesci got it right—his took only five seconds. If only they had Vine back then.

7. Be enthusiastic.

The bar here was set very high by Roberto Benigni in '99. He stood on seats. He hopped up the steps. He wanted to French kiss the whole auditorium. With an adorable accent and some broken English, you too can achieve Oscar immortality.

6. Be yourself.

This can be hard for an actor. They've assumed so many roles, their own identity begins to get clouded. What's left is hidden behind a veil of alcohol, drugs, shoplifting and windows tinted to block out TMZ reporters. If you can't be genuine, try acting genuine. If all else fails, follow Clooney's lead.

5. Kiss someone.

Adrien Brody kissed Halle Berry. Angelina Jolie kissed her brother. Kissing seems to get the headlines. Just don't kiss the statue. Or Jacob Tremblay—he's only 9!

4. Mention a marketer.

Fashion designers like Vera Wang get plenty of traction supplying gowns. Why be subtle? Thank the Egg McMuffin for helping you survive those early mornings in the wilderness with Alejandro González Iñárritu. Now McDonald's is promoting your speech, too. Their Oscar spot, by Leo Burnett in Chicago, even volunteers a montage of delicious breakfast food, in case you're not as camera-friendly as Leonardo. It's 2016. Everyone sells out. Even this article is not immune from shameless plugs.

3. Talk louder.

The orchestra chimed in after only 32 seconds for Cuba Gooding Jr., but he just talked over it and stole the show. Just keep talking louder and pretend there's no music at all. Never acknowledge the orchestra pit—they'll get drunk with power.

2. Cry.

Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow and countless others have opened their tear ducts wide to give their speeches that little bit of extra emotion. How the hell did you win an Oscar if you can't cry on command? Note: This kind of emotional display becomes more challenging with each subsequent Botox injection.

1. Include a talking animal or baby.

Hey, it always works for Super Bowl. Jonah Hill already stuck his toe in the water with that bear costume stunt at the Golden Globes. If the person who wins for visual effects doesn't show up looking like a Wookiee, a golden Oscar opportunity was missed. 

—Frank Oles is a creative director at Leo Burnett in Chicago.

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