Two Oscar Takeaways for Tuesday

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“In this culture, where entertainers and athletes wield such power, it seems only right to me that they try to make their influence a good one.”
– Pat Boone

Entertaining–a fitting word for the 86th Annual Academy Awards from Ellen’s antics as host and John Travolta’s pronunciations misfortunes to P!nk’s powerful tribute to The Wizard of Oz and, most importantly, the awards themselves. While the show ran thirty minutes over its time slot, the length was hardly noticeable for a couple of reasons: the orchestra didn’t awkwardly play winners off the stage and the speeches were pretty good–entertaining, if you will. A lot of the time winners fill speeches with so many listed and robotic “thank yous” that they’re redundant and boring for audiences who have no idea what or who they’re talking about. Since they’re often played off before they get to the good stuff, speeches (for the most part) never seem that insightful; they waste their power. Sunday’s awards, on the other hand, had several stand out speeches. Much more than a simple industry, entertainment is an art that fuels culture around the globe–so (however unfair it might be) the stars, their projects and public personas matter to the public (their fans) and their reputations as artists. Sometimes it just takes an acceptance speech to reaffirm their “right” to that so-called “power” they wield in society.

This Two for Tuesday, take a look at two key lessons from two of the night’s most powerful acceptance speeches.

Lupita Nyong’o, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave, spoke in the name of humility, beginning her speech with a powerful recognition. Speaking of her character Patsey, a woman who was a real slave, she said, “it doesn’t escape me for a moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.” She tacked on another lesson (this time of dreams) at the end of her speech: “when I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

Catch Nyong’o’s full speech here.

Matthew McConaughey, who won Best Actor for his role in the Dallas Buyers Club, shared his personal philosophy (as well as how he applies it each day) with the audience. Boiled down, McConaughey spoke very clearly about motivation. In his case, he needs three things in this world to motivate him everyday: “someone to look up to, something to look forward to and someone to chase.” 

Catch McConaughe’s full speech here.

Have any favorite takeaways from this year’s Oscar speeches? Share them with us in the comments!

Cover Photo Source: cinemafestival /

Cassandra is a Content Manager and Developer at SJG. She earned her BA from Fontbonne University in 2011. Outside the office, she enjoys an active, healthy and well-rounded lifestyle including reading, writing, running, golfing, watching films, listening to music, taking photographs, and consuming media and social media.