45 seconds to say “thank you”

Long-winded and emotional people are a nightmare for anyone managing a live stream. I’ve been behind the scenes to witness the frustration of those who are working and need to deliver the right air time. I’ve also worked in programming, where literally every second makes a difference. It’s a math question. Besides, if the event goes on for hours, the public gives up. The rules of all sporting competitions include accurate timing. But in Hollywood, since broadcasts of award shows have become part of the business, the headaches are endless. They’ve tried everything, in recent years the orchestra takes the cue and starts to interfere until, in extreme cases, the microphone’s audio is cut off. I just haven’t seen – yet – security taking someone off the stage. Who knows what will happen one day?

At the Oscars 2023, the 95th, the Academy has already warned nominees: the acceptance speech should not exceed 45 seconds. That’s right, the winners will have less than a minute to go on stage, cry a little, and thank those who have to thank and clear the stage. It’s not a long time. What they are asking is that they come up, and basically don’t do much more than say “thank you”. Will they make it?

In 2001, Julia Roberts stopped the orchestra and took a (long but amusing) four minutes onstage to accept her Oscar. “I’m so happy. Thanks. I have a television, so I’m going to spend some time here to tell you a few things. And sir [speaking to conductor Bill Conti], you’re doing a great job, but you’re so fast with that stick. So why don’t you sit down, because I may never be here again,” she warned with a cheering crowd.

Julia is queen and the orchestra was quiet, but her speech, even if it came close to one of the longest, did not beat Greer Garson‘s 1943 record. She stayed on stage for no less than seven minutes. Glad it was the last prize of that night! The shortest? Patty Duke only said “thank you”, before leaving the stage and spending less than 45 seconds there. Short like that doesn’t work either, people! Let’s see how we do in 2023!


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