12 Oscar Acceptance Speeches That Will Leave You Inspired

Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry and Robin Williams are just some of the stars who wowed us on stage

By Mike Vulpo Feb 22, 2019 11:00 AMTags

And the winner for most memorable speech goes to...

When it comes to the Oscars, only a few Hollywood stars have the honor of appearing on stage at the Dolby Theatre and delivering an acceptance speech.

While thanking the cast and crew of his or her's movie is likely, others take it one step further and share messages that are simply unforgettable.

For Halle Berry, she took the moment to celebrate all of the talented African American women who were deserving of recognition.

"I don't even remember where that speech came from, because I didn't have a speech [planned],"Halle previously shared at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. "I was pretty sure Sissy Spacek was going to win. That [sentiment] just was what was ruminating in my spirit during that whole process."

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As we prepare for a new group of winners at Sunday night's live show airing on ABC, we're taking a look back at just a few of the many memorable Oscar acceptances speeches.

Take a look for yourself and be prepared to feel inspired in our gallery below.

Sam Rockwell

VIDEO: When accepting the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role thanks to his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the actor dedicated his award to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. "This is for my old buddy," he shared. 

Frances McDormand

VIDEO: After winning Best Actress in a Leading Role for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the actress delivered a poignant speech about the power of women. "Look around everybody, look around. Because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed," she shared. "Don't talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple of days or you can come to ours, whatever suits you best, and we'll tell you all about them. I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentleman: inclusion rider."

Jennifer Lawrence

VIDEO: On Hollywood's biggest night, things don't always go as planned. That can be said for Jennifer who accidentally fell when walking up the stairs to claim her trophy. "You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell and that's really embarrassing but thank you," she joked before thanking her fellow nominees.

Matthew McConaughey

VIDEO: Alright, alright, alright! "There's a few things, about three things to my account that I need each day," the actor explained in his powerful speech. "One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase." 

Lupita Nyong'o

VIDEO: The actress delivered a poignant speech when accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress thanks to her role in 12 Years A Slave. "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," she shared. "Thank you."


Adrien Brody

VIDEO: While many pop culture fans will remember the moment Adrien kissed presenter Halle Berry on the lips, we promise his speech was great too. "There comes a time in life when everything seems to make sense and this is not one of those times," he shared. "What I do know, though, is that I've never felt this much love and encouragement from my peers and from people I admire and from complete strangers. And it means a great deal to me."

Halle Berry

VIDEO: "This moment is so much bigger than me," Halle explained when she became the first black woman to receive a Best Actress Oscar. "This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It's for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett Smith, Angela Bassett, Vivica A Fox. And it's for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I'm so honored."

Cuba Gooding Jr.

VIDEO: Back in 1996, the actor made quite the impression on viewers after winning a trophy for his role in Jerry Maguire. Despite music playing him off, Cuba insisted on thanking his high school sweetheart, his parents and God. "Everybody who's involved with this! I love you! I love you! I love you!" he concluded.

Viola Davis

VIDEO: When accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress thanks to her performance in Fences, Viola couldn't help but tear up when discussing her passion for telling certain stories. "You know, there is one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered and that's the graveyard. People ask me all the time—what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say exhume those bodies," she proclaimed. "Exhume those stories—the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition, people who fell in love and lost. I became an artist and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life."

Ben Affleck & Matt Damon

VIDEO: Rewind to 1997 when the close friends won an Oscar for writing Good Will Hunting. "I just said to Matt, losing would suck and winning would be really scary. It's really, really scary," Ben shared on stage. "We're just really two young guys who were fortunate enough to be involved with a lot of great people whom it's incumbent upon us—there's no way we're doing this in less than 20 seconds."

Julia Roberts

VIDEO: Long live the iconic role of Erin Brockovich. "I would like to start with telling you all how amazing the experience of feeling the sisterhood of being included in a group with Joan Allen and Juliette Binoche and Laura Linney and Ellen Burstyn for these last weeks has been. It's just felt like such a triumph to me to be in that list," Julia shared. "I love the world! I'm so happy! Thank you!"

Robin Williams

VIDEO: When accepting his award for Good Will Hunting, Robin brought heart and humor to the stage. "Most of all, I want to thank my father, up there, the man who when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said, 'Wonderful, just have a back-up profession like welding.' Thank you," Robin recalled. "God bless you."

So who will deliver the acceptance speech that will have us cheering from our couches Sunday night? We can't wait to find out. 

But if the past couple of months have been any indication, we're crossing our fingers for a Lady Gaga win. 

For a recap of the 2019 Oscars, watch E! News tonight at 7 p.m.!