Showbiz writers rework award speeches

Scribes offer advice on what to say at the podium

Much like the question, “Who are you wearing?” an award show just isn’t the same without the classic acceptance speech — although it’s getting harder to find something original to say. We asked seven Hollywood scribes to share how they would rework some tried-and-true speeches, just in time for the Golden Globes. You’re welcome. Just don’t forget to thank us when you’re up there. — Carly Milne


Start your speech late and end it early, meaning skip past the setup and get right to the good stuff. Bad: “When I was a kid I didn’t want to be a punk and a crook. But after my dad split, I started hanging around a lot of kids who weren’t the best influence. I remember one night, I told my grandma I was going to the library, but I really met up with Stitch, Jelly and Mad Dog …” Better: “Man, I was such a punk, I actually hung out with a dude named Mad Dog and another named Stitch. We thought it would be smart to rip off the drive-in theater. So of course I’m running my ass off through the cars at the drive-in, this crazy kid blasting a shotgun in the sky and screaming over the P.A. system, ‘You will never escape alive!’ (chuckle at the memory). And I thought if I got out of this, I was going to be an actor …” After that, just say something like, “Glad I was a fast runner,” and get off the stage. Leave us wanting more rather than wear us down with your schmaltz.

David Veloz (“Natural Born Killers”)


“If I have accomplished anything on this project, I have done so despite the best efforts of the ‘creative team’ in the development process. For me, this film has been an unbroken struggle against the efforts of my employers to destroy my work and to insult the intelligence of the audience, for whom they never fail to express mockingly low regard. I lived with this material and wrote it for over a year, only to have a group of sycophants who never wrote anything more challenging than a job description read it over a weekend and tell me exactly where I went wrong. And when I read in Variety about my having been replaced (since the creative team will never tell you to your face or even in a phone call), I was actually relieved. The fact that I have a living soul left is testament to my professionalism and an optimism which has somehow survived the development process. Now I stand before you, bloody but unbowed, in the knowledge that, if I did not have a mortgage and four children in college and private schools, I would be in New Mexico writing that history of the Hopi people I have so long dreamed about.”

Stephen Rivele (“Ali”)


I would like to see an actor get up there and tell me an inside scoop. Like, “There was this little boy I went to school with named Tommy Leadbetter. He was small and awkward and didn’t fit in. He got teased relentlessly by the school bully and, I’m afraid, me too. I heard later he killed himself. I took on this role because it reminded me of Tommy and I tried to bring him to life again in the only way I know how. So this is my ode to little Tommy Leadbetter. I’m so sorry, Tommy. Rest in peace.” Now, that would get me to tune in.

Lisa Marie Petersen (“Gracie”)


“I could be modest and say all my competitors are equals, we’re all equally deserving, but the truth is, we’re not. My role? So much more challenging. I didn’t have the advantage of my competitors, who played people who were mentally challenged, had a limp, accent or expensive makeup. And I’d like to dedicate my victory tonight to every person who ever put me down, every woman who wouldn’t go out with me when I was growing up, every agent who said you’ll never make it. See where you are? See where I am? I told you so. Go fuck yourself. Goodnight!”

Barry Blaustein (“Saturday Night Live”)


“I’d like to thank the Teamster who put air in my tires, the new propmaster for knowing that ‘a cookie the size of a head’ was hyperbolic, craft services for understanding the importance of pre-lunch, the stylist who cut my bangs and turned me on to that fantastic conditioner, the construction crew for building my daughter’s playhouse, and most of all I’d like to thank my assistant for pairing my Bluetooth to my car.”

Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon (“The Starter Wife”)


“I promised my mom something, hi mom! Mom actually helped me prepare an outline of talking points for this speech which … oh, actually (shuffling through index cards), ‘hi mom’ was supposed to be talking point one. I’m sorry. I think I need to backtrack … (dropping index cards on floor) I’m kind of distracted now; in midst of trying to find a lender willing to help me refinance my mortgage and trying to re-negotiate another deadline extension on my college loans, credit bills and parking ticket payments and it’s just … (retrieving index cards) distracting … OK, second talking point. I’d also like to thank my dad for helping me strategize all those overdraft penalty fee waivers … Um. I’m sorry, that’s not what I wrote. Let me just skip to my third talking point. I’d like to thank the Foreign Press for hosting the Golden Globes so I can eBay my swag to pay off the medical bills I acquired before qualifying for SAG’s comprehensive health coverage. Finally, well (giving up index cards) … Look, I don’t even know where to begin starting to thank my agent for his tireless daily calls to the studio to remind them that the check they continue to insist is in the process of being processed has yet to be received.”

Susanna Speier (“Calabi Yau”)