The last Oscar speech

On the night of the Academy Awards one actress will have the courage to stand onstage, her statuette clutched to her bosom, and speak directly from her heart ...

Published March 25, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the

Gee, where do I start? There have been
so many people who haven't helped me
over the years. Please forgive me if I
fail to mention some of your names
tonight when it really counts, as you
have failed to mention mine so many
times over the years.

First of all, I would not like to thank
my family. They were never there when I
needed them and, of course, they're all
here now. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa,
you were always the first to say,
"You're right. You can't do it. Why
don't you make us all feel comfortable
and give up?"

Then there's my industry family. I'll
start with my agent. He once dislocated
both shoulders describing the fish he
caught. Jeremy, what can I say? You
didn't get me this part and you almost
blew the deal. You're fired. Not that it
was such a great part anyway. As we all
know, the person it was written for has
the acting range of a doorbell. When she
turned it down, I got the part because
my agent said that I'd work for food.
Sorry, is that too bitter? It's just
that I'm dying. Really. Why so quiet?
Everyone knows that I've got six weeks.
Isn't that why I'm getting this award?

Well, I see that Elizabeth Taylor's face
has just dropped, and I have many more
people I do not wish to thank. So with
your unkind permission ... Where was I?
Oh, yes, my so-called director. Please
hold your applause. The man never once
helped me with a performance. He was too
busy worrying about his own ...
[imitating director] "That's a wraaaap!"
And "Cuh-ut! Holy Christ, that was good
for me! Stef-ahhhhhn? Good for you?"

Well, you know what, ladies and
gentlemen of the academy? It was never
very good for me. Except with Cheryl,
the producer of the film. That's right,
Cheryl and I go way back. In fact, we
had an affair during her second
marriage. Actually, it's still going on.
But you know, in all the years I've
known this woman, she never once invited
me to screenings. The only time I see
free movies is when they show clips on
"Live at Five."

But I digress. I'm supposed to be
telling you about all the people I don't
have to thank. So another big no thank
you goes to my manager, Larry, the first
man in the business to tell me that I
could never replace Ellen Barkin.

And let's not forget my acting coach,
always consistent in his belief that I
should find another career, not to
mention my accountant who's so crooked
he has to screw his socks on, or my many
foul-weather friends in my Adult
Children of Alcoholics program who
secretly want me to fail so I can phone
them and talk about low self-esteem.

I could go on, but I see that it's time
for somebody else to come up here and
have their name mangled by some has-been
actor who is too vain to wear reading

Let me just quickly tip my hat to my
gaffer. Really, Frank, I was so poorly
lit in this film that even my ex-husband
who left me for a piece of jailbait
called to say that I'm much prettier in
person. And how could I honestly accept
this acclaim without mentioning my
co-star? ... What was her name again?

And now I find myself reaching the end
of my list. It's time to mention the one
person who I can honestly say was there
for me whenever it really counted -- my
dry cleaner. Jimmy, you overcharge and
you ruin anything that says "handle with
care." But even during the lean years,
you kept my picture on your wall, and I

So what can I say other than if I've
neglected to mention anybody, the
omission was purely intentional. Those
of you who have slammed a door in my
face -- you know who you are. So why
don't you just turn your backs to your
neighbor and all give yourselves a great
big sloppy bear snub from yours truly?

In closing, I'd like to tell all of you
that I'll treasure this little guy
forever [fondling the award], but
frankly, he's too little too late. What
do you expect from a guy named Oscar?

No thank you and good night.

By Deanne Stillman

Deanne Stillman's latest book is "Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt in Modern California History," based on an award-winning Rolling Stone piece. It was named a Southwest Book of the Year. For more, see

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Elizabeth Taylor