Even though these Lohud celebs weren’t nominated for Oscars this year, they already know what it’s like to walk on stage and accept the most prestigious award in the film industry — not that we’re bragging or anything.
Before Sunday’s Academy Awards, grab a Kleenex and make time to binge-watch these memorable Oscar acceptance speeches — the good, the bad and the long — from some of the actors and directors who have called the Lower Hudson Valley home.
Denzel Washington: The Mount Vernon native made his hometown proud when he won the Supporting Actor Oscar in 1990 for his work in “Glory.” The best part of his speech: watching his mother, former Mount Vernon beauty shop owner Lennis Washington, beam with pride in the audience.
Michael Douglas: How sweet is it that Bedford’s Michael Douglas thanked his legendary father Kirk Douglas for helping him “step out of his shadow” during his Best Actor speech in 1988? Sporting a regrettable eighties haircut, Douglas, who won for “Wall Street,” also thanked his tearful wife. (Not Catherine Zeta Jones in this case. He was married to Diandra Douglas back then.)
Catherine Zeta Jones: The actress was pregnant with her second child with Douglas when she accepted the award for “Chicago” in 2003. “Me and my hormones are just way too out of control to be dealing with this,” she joked.
Denzel Washington: In 2002, Washington became the second African American actor to win the Oscar for Best Actor. And Halle Berry became the first African American woman to win for Best Actress. “Two birds in one night, huh?” he joked after getting a standing ovation.
Ang Lee: If New Rochelle’s beloved director seems nervous during his 2006 speech, it might be because it was his first time winning an Oscar. Sadly, no one seemed to laugh at a joke he tried to make at the start of the speech. Nevertheless, Lee was charming and grateful while accepting the Best Director award for “Brokeback Mountain.”
Ron Howard: In 2002, Mel Gibson presented the Best Director Oscar to the then-Pound Ridge resident for his outstanding work in “A Beautiful Mind.” Howard’s other Oscars accomplishment: he managed to give a three minute-long acceptance speech without getting played off the stage.
Jonathan Demme: The Westchester resident had a lot (and we mean a lot) of people to thank when he beat directors including Oliver Stone and John Singleton to win the Best Director Oscar for “The Silence of the Lambs” in 1992. Check out his nineties haircut and the red ribbon he wore for AIDS awareness that year.
Ellen Burstyn: No, that that isn’t the longtime Nyack resident accepting her 1975 Best Actress Oscar while wearing a tuxedo with an oversized bow tie and frilly white shirt. It was Martin Scorcese, who explained that Burstyn, who won for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” was busy doing a play in New York.
Helen Hayes: Speaking of Nyack’s icons, the late Helen Hayes won her second Oscar in 1971 for Best Supporting Actress in “Airport.” Like Burstyn, Hayes didn’t attend the Academy ceremony. Rosalind Russell accepted on her behalf.
What are some of your favorite Oscar acceptance speeches from past ceremonies? Tell us in the comments.