“How to accept an Oscar” starring Tom Hanks

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has produced and distributed an eight-minute how-to video for Oscar nominees. Ratings have declined over the years, and they want to maintain the ceremony’s momentum and not lose bored viewers:

Every year, the Academy begs Oscar winners – mostly in vain – not to spend their allotted minute thanking their armies of anonymous agents, lawyers and accountants, or hugging and kissing so many people on their way to the stage that they run out of time to say anything.

This year, though, it has a new gimmick: an eight-minute instructional video, narrated by two-time Best Actor winner Tom Hanks, which it has distributed to each of the 150-odd nominees. A relaxed and wry-looking Hanks guides nominees through the art of handling that speech-making moment “with wit, flair, creativity – or at least with brevity”.

Entitled An Insider’s Guide: What Nominees Need To Know, the video includes clips of Oscar moments that stuck in the memory – such as Jack Palance doing one-arm push-ups, or Roberto Benigni gliding over the tops of everyone’s chairs en route to the stage – and ones that decidedly did not – such as the interminable thank-yous delivered by the crew from Lord of the Rings two years ago, which was about as interesting as a reading from the New Zealand telephone directory. Another bad example was Gwyneth Paltrow’s tsunami of tears.

They basically want people to keep it short, avoid lists, and be funny and interesting.

The most awkward Oscar acceptance I remember was Zellweger’s 2003 Best Actress speech. She came off as insecure as she thanked everyone, including the lackeys at her agency, for their help. This year, The Academy hopes to placate over-eager winners with a special section of their website where they can post thank you messages.

Here are presenters Jake Gyllenhaal and J.Lo preparing for tonight. Three more after the jump.

Pictures [via]

JLo Practicing for the OscarsJake Gyllenhaal Practicing for the Oscars

JLo Practicing for the OscarsJake Gyllenhaal Practicing for the Oscars

Jake Gyllenhaal Practicing for the Oscars

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