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'Mom, I just won an Oscar': The most remarkable acceptance speeches at the 2023 Academy Awards

By NICK GARCIA Published Mar 13, 2023 4:26 pm

The Academy Awards aren't only exciting because of the different recognitions across several categories, but also because the winners get to deliver their acceptance speeches.

On stage, they don't only get to show their eloquence as actors but also their kindheartedness as human beings as they thank industry colleagues and loved ones, even sharing nuggets of wisdom with audiences and turning emotional in the process.

Here are the most remarkable speeches at the 2023 Oscars held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Monday, March 13 (Philippine time).

'This is for you, mom'

Michelle Yeoh, the first Asian best actress winner in Oscars' 95-year history for her role as laundromat owner Evelyn Wang in the absurdist multiverse film Everything Everywhere All at Once, made sure to honor her mother and all moms worldwide in time for Women's History Month.

"They are really the superheroes and without them, none of us would be here tonight," she said.

"She’s 84 and I’m taking this home to her," Yeoh said of her mother, who was watching the telecast in Malaysia.

The cast and crew of Everything Everywhere All at Once attend the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

Ke Huy Quan, who starred opposite Yeoh as her husband Waymond, won Best Supporting Actor. In a mama's boy moment, Quan gave his 84-year-old mother a shout-out for the achievement.

"Mom, I just won an Oscar!" he said.

Jamie Lee Curtis, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Internal Revenue Service inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre, remembered her late parents Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis who were also Oscar nominees themselves. She looked upwards, breaking into tears as she happily told them about her win.

Daniel Scheinart, the half of The Daniels who won Best Director for the same film, dedicated the award to the "mommies of the world" as he gave a shoutout to his mom and dad.

"Thank you for not squashing my creativity when I was making really disturbing horror films or really perverted comedy films," Scheinart said.

Michelle Yeoh motivates aspiring women actors

The 60-year-old Yeoh, who's also the second woman of color to win Best Actress after Halle Berry in 2001 romantic drama Monster's Ball, urged women who aspire to be actors like her to never give up.

"This is a beacon of hope and possibilities," Yeoh said. "This is proof that dreams—dream big, and dreams do come true. Ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime."

Michelle Yeoh

Ke Huy Quan acknowledges humble beginnings as he did in previous award shows

Quan, in his major showbiz comeback following a decades-long hiatus, always acknowledged his humble beginnings and always delivered his speeches with much passion since taking home recognitions in past major award shows.

Fighting back his tears, the Vietnam-born citizen noted how his journey "started on a boat," spending a year in a refugee camp. He and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was just a kid.

"They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me," Quan said of his Oscars victory.

Ke Huy Quan

“Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine,” he added. “To all of you out there, please keep your dream alive.”

During his speech as Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes last January, Quan also remembered his days as a child actor. He famously portrayed Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984.

"I was raised to never forget where I came from, and to always remember who gave me my first opportunity," he said, giving director Steven Spielberg a shoutout.

Scheinart says dressing in drag 'not a threat to anybody'

Scheinart made a powerful statement at the Oscars stage, saying dressing up in drag as a kid is "a threat to nobody" to much applause from the crowd.

His remarks came on the heels of the state of Tennessee passing a law banning drag show performances in public. Several other states like Florida, Arizona, and Texas also have anti-LGBTQ legislation in place.

The Daniels

The bills define drag as performing while in dress and makeup and acting far from so-called “normal behaviors” associated with assigned gender at birth. Tennessee, in banning “adult cabaret performances,” states drag performances couldn't exist in public properties or in places where "children might see."

Kwan, for his part, said there's greatness in every single person, and it doesn’t matter who they are.

"If you have a genius that is waiting to erupt, you just need to find the right people to unlock that. Thank you so much to everyone who has unlocked my genius," he said.

Jamie Lee Curtis 'not alone' in very first Oscar win in her almost five-decade career

Curtis, 64, won her very first Oscar in an acting career spanning nearly five decades, which included roles in the Halloween franchise, Freaky Friday, and Trading Places.

In winning the award, she said she's not alone in the achievement, paying tribute to colleagues and supporters.

Jamie Lee Curtis

“I know it looks like I’m standing up here by myself but I am not," she said. "I am hundreds of people. [The] thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, we just won an Oscar together!"

Brendan Fraser uses maritime metaphors

Fraser of The Mummy fame won best actor for his role as Charlie, a morbidly obese English teacher who's estranged from his teenage daughter, in psychological drama The Whale.

In his moving speech, he used several maritime metaphors as he acknowledged the brains behind the movie.

Brendan Fraser

"I’m grateful to Darren (Aronofsky) for throwing me a creative lifetime and hauling me aboard the good ship,” Fraser said, even as he was trying not to break down. “It was written by Samuel D. Hunter who is our lighthouse."

"Gentlemen, you laid your whale-sized hearts bare so that we could see into your souls like no one else could do," he added.

Fraser also thanked co-star Hong Chau, who portrayed his nurse friend Liz, saying she has a depth of talent only whales can reach.

Sarah Polley takes a dig at The Academy

Polley is the director and writer of drama film Women Talking, based on the novel of the same title by Canadian author Miriam Toews. It reigned supreme in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Polley took a dig at the organizers for "not being mortally offended by the words 'women' and 'talking' put so close together like that."

Sarah Polley

She then paid tribute to Toews for writing an "essential novel about a radical act of democracy," in which people who don’t agree on every single issue managed "to sit together in a room and carve out a way forward together free of violence."

Polley cited the movie's final line, delivered by a young woman to a newborn: "Your story will be different from ours." Polley then gave a shout-out to her own three children, "as they make their way through this beautiful world.”

The 95th Academy Awards honored some of the most outstanding names and contributions to the film industry in the past year. Everything Everywhere All at Once emerged as the biggest winner of the night, bagging Best Picture and six other awards, followed by All Quiet on the Western Front, which reigned supreme in four categories. The entire ceremony was livestreamed on Disney+.