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How to Give the Perfect Oscar Speech: Halle Berry, Meryl Streep & More (VIDEO)

Lessons on delivering the best acceptance speech from Tom Hanks, George Clooney, and others.

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If you win an Academy Award, 
for the love of Meryl Streep, cry. And be witty. And thank your mom. 
And bow down to lord and savior Harvey Weinstein. But please 
just remember to cry.

By this point, at the tail end of the seemingly interminable awards 
season, the likes of Anne Hathaway, Daniel Day-Lewis, 
and Ben Affleck have likely logged hours each giving acceptance speeches as they steamrolled the precursor awards shows. Jennifer 
has charmed America on a handful of occasions with her thank-yous. But 
has anyone thus far given a truly great acceptance speech?

As the stars prepare for Oscars Sunday, we’ve perused the greatest hits
 of Oscar speeches past and come up with this, an instructional video 
for giving the Academy Award acceptance speech of viewers’ dreams.

Year after year, millions of people around the world tune into the 
Academy Awards, many if not most not having seen 75 percent of the
 films nominated. With scant investment, then, if little-seen Amour 
triumphs over little-seen Beasts of the Southern Wild, these people 
are tuning in, largely, for one thing: histrionic explosions of
 emotion from typically buttoned-up movie stars.

They don’t want to see Hilary Swank march up to the stage with note
cards. They want to see Halle Berry 
crumble into a blubbering puddle of tears (Step 1: cry), or Julia
 Roberts erupt into her trademark loud guffaw (Step 2: laugh). You 
just won an Oscar! Jump around a bit and get excited, like Cuba
 Gooding Jr., or—why not—make out with Halle Berry. When else would
 you have the excuse (Step 3: get physical)


You’re an actor—a trained performer who has been gifted on multiple 
occasions with the words of brilliant screenwriters. You know the 
importance of first impressions, and you’ve known for over a month that
 you’ve been nominated for an Academy Award. That’s plenty of time to
 come up with a Streisandesque “Hello, gorgeous!” or 
a Julie Andrews–adorable “You Americans are famous for your hospitality, 
but this is ridiculous” opener (Step 4: have a great opening 

Then it’s time to pay tribute. No one wants to hear about your agent
or your lawyer. They want to hear you weep as you thank your mother
 for all her sacrifices (Step 5) and pay tribute to the famous people 
who paved the way for your success. The more famous people you mention
 the better, really, and it’s always wise to acknowledge the genius of 
Meryl Streep (Step 6). She’s probably nominated in your category,
 anyway, and we all love her.

Next you have a few options. If you ever want to work in this town
 again, you’re going to want to name-check Harvey Weinstein (Step 7).

Similarly, you’ll want to tease George Clooney—he’s probably in the 
audience, and he loves that (Step 8). And when in doubt, paraphrase
 something Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep said in one of their speeches
 (Step 9). No one has ever not loved one of their speeches.

Then—oh no! The conductor is starting to play you off. Time for Step 
10: make a joke about your time running out. But be charming about it, 
like Julia Roberts. The conductor still refusing to let you finish?

Time to start jumping up and down adorably like Matt Damon and Ben 
Affleck, shouting thank-yous to every single person you can think of
 until the microphone is finally silenced. Or just start wailing in 
French, à la Jean Dujardin (Step 11).

And then, there, in 11 easy steps, you have the perfect Oscar
 acceptance speech. Anne Hathaway, take note.