The Kenyan/Mexican actress Lupita Amondi Nyong’o won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2014 for her role in the British-American historical drama film “12 Years a Slave,” directed by Steve McQueen. The movie told the story of Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery, working on plantations in Louisiana for twelve years before his release. Lupita played the role of Patsey, a young slave who is abused in the cotton plantation in Louisiana.
Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own.
Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position, it’s been the joy of my life. [Tears, applause.] I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I.
Chiwetel, thank you for your fearlessness and how deeply you went into Solomon, telling Solomon’s story. Michael Fassbender, thank you so much. You were my rock. Alfre and Sarah, it was a thrill to work with you. Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room, thank you. Sean Bobbitt, Kalaadevi, Adruitha, Patty Norris, thank you, thank you, thank you — I could not be here without your work.
I want to thank my family, for your training [laughs] and the Yale School of Drama as well, for your training. My friends the Wilsons, this one’s for you. My brother Junior sitting by my side, thank you so much, you’re my best friend and then my other best friend, my chosen family.
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. Thank you.
The transcript is from FilmSite.org, in its fascinating Best Speeches and Monologues section, and the video is from here.
Dr. Evil (Mike Myers)
Actually, the boy’s quite astute. I really am trying to kill him, but so far unsuccessfully. He’s quite wily, like his old man.
Scott: This is what I’m talking about.
Therapist: OK. Well, we’ve heard from you, Scott. Now you, tell us a little about yourself.
Dr. Evil: The details of my life are quite inconsequential.
Therapist: Oh no, please please. Let’s hear about your childhood.
Group: Yeah, Come on! Of course, Please! etc.
Dr. Evil: Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year-old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet.
My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.
My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring, we’d make meat helmets.
When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds – pretty standard, really. At the age of twelve, I received my first scribe.
At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. At the age of 18, I went off to evil medical school. At the age of 25, I took up tap dancing. I wanted to be a quadruple threat — an actor, dancer…
The Third Man is a 1949 British film directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. Many critics rank it as a masterpiece for its atmospheric cinematography, performances, and musical score.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is a 1967 American drama film starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn. The film featured the controversial subject of interracial marriage, which was still illegal in 17 US states. In the clip, Poitier argues with his father.
John Prentice (Sidney Poitier): You listen to me. You say you don’t want to tell me how to live my life. So what do you think you’ve been doing? You tell me what rights I’ve got or haven’t got, and what I owe to you for what you’ve done for me. Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing! If you carried that bag a million miles, you did what you’re supposed to do!
Because you brought me into this world. And from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me like I will owe my son if I ever have another. But you don’t own me! You can’t tell me when or where I’m out of line, or try to get me to live my life according to your rules.
You don’t even know what I am, Dad, you don’t know who I am. You don’t know how I feel, what I think. And if I tried to explain it the rest of your life you will never understand. You are 30 years older than I am. You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it’s got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the dead weight be off our backs! You understand, you’ve got to get off my back!
Dad… Dad, you’re my father. I’m your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.
The Great Dictator is a comedy film by Charlie Chaplin released in October 1940. Like most Chaplin films, he wrote, produced, and directed, in addition to starring as the lead. It was the first major feature film to satirize Nazism and Adolf Hitler. At its release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany.
Chaplin’s film condemned Hitler, fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis, whom he calls “machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts”.
The Jewish private/barber (Charlie Chaplin): I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black men, white. We all want to help one another.
Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in.
Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these things cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.
Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.” The misery that has come upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.
Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to these brutes who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle and use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are men! With the love of humanity in your hearts! Don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.
Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to the happiness of us all. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us unite!