Only the foolhardy – or brave – would bet against Colin Firth to bag this year’s Best Actor Oscar. It seems to be written in the stars over Tinseltown and the man himself seems to be readying for his moment in the klieg lights. In his various wins in recent months the star of The King’s Speech has delivered a very different – and quite amusing – speech for his gongs including a Golden Globe, a SAG and a Bafta (the man is, if anything, value for money). So what will he deliver on Oscar night – assuming of course he makes it to the podium? Doubtless it will top all his other speeches but will it be a king of the world moment (thank you James Cameron) or will the unflaffable Colin break down and blub (take a bow Sally Field, Gwyneth Paltrow etc)?

Here we give you our favourite Oscar acceptance speeches, not necessarily the best or the most eloquent, but certainly the most memorable.

1. When Marlon Brando won his second Oscar for The Godfather, the great man chose not to show up on the night but instead sent Sacheen Littlefeather (in actual fact Maria Cruz, a civil rights activist) to collect his award. She proceeded to read from a prepared script regarding Hollywood’s treatment of her people (that’s the native Americans and not civil rights activists).

2. Shy and retiring (!) James Cameron knew that he had won at the box office with his erm, titanic smash Titanic but how would he fare at the Oscars? Well he bagged two for Best Picture and Best Director and wrapped it all up when he modestly declared himself king of the world. Last year though the king was usurped by the queen when his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow beat the Avatar helmer to top director prize as well ass Best Picture and showed him the real meaning of The Hurt Locker.

3. The late, great Jack Palance had been nominated twice for an Oscar (Shane, Sudden Fear) before he bagged the statuette for Best Supporting Actor in City Slickers in 1992. The 73–year-old legend took it with both hands (“Billy Crystal? I crap bigger than him.”) and then proceeded to show all the young guns how it should be done with a series of one-armed press-ups.

4. Long before Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love), Sally Field was showing the world how to blub when she drowned her Best Oscar for Norma Rae in tears. After a million thank-yous, punctuated with a river of emotion, she wrapped it all up with a big nod to her family.


5. “You’ve just provided me with the makings of one hell of a weekend in Dublin,” were the words of Daniel Day-Lewis when Jodie Foster handed the Irish resident the Best Actor statuette for My Left Foot in 1990. A gracious speech with nods to Christy Brown and his co-star, Hugh O’Conor that, whatever about Dublin, lead to a big knees-up in Tinseltown. The Irish are coming?

6. Accepting her award for Julia, the crusading Vanessa Redgrave used the Oscar podium to protest against “Zionist hoodlums”, words that drew a shocked gasp from the audience but by the end they were on her side as she pledged to “fight anti-Semitism and fascism”.