Thank God, thank your parents, thank your significant other, thank the director/the crew/your agent. Say you can't believe you were nominated. Make a predictable joke about not respecting the speech time limit. Then raise the statue triumphantly and walk off.
But they're worth watching because every now and then someone says something hilarious, touching or just creative.
Surge Desk has rounded up some of the best speeches in Academy Awards history. We hope this year's nominees are paying attention. We want to be entertained, not bored!
1. Sally Field
Certainly one of the most memorable Oscar moments came when Sally Field accepted the Best Actress award for her role in 1984's "Places in the Heart." It was her second Academy Award. But her legendary line -- "You like me, you really like me!" -- didn't actually come out of Field's lips. What she said was: "I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!"
2. Sidney Poitier
Poitier's win for "Lilies of the Field" was historic, making him the first black Best Actor recipient. His speech in 1964 was brief but effective. "It has been a long journey to this moment," he said. Watch:
3. Jane Wyman
In 1949, Wyman won the Best Actress award for her portrayal of a deaf-mute rape victim in "Johnny Belinda." In a nod to the fact that her character didn't utter a word, Wyman turned in one of the shorter, more clever speeches in Oscar history, saying only, "I accept this very gratefully for keeping my mouth shut for once. I think I'll do it again."
4. Cuba Gooding Jr.
When Gooding won as Best Supporting Actor for "Jerry Maguire" (1986), he delivered a touching acceptance speech. He may have hit some of the cliches, but his excitement made it one worth watching -- particularly when he kept raising his voice to compete with the orchestra trying to play him off.
5. Gerda Weissmann Klein
Klein, a Holocaust survivor, was the star, if you will, of 1996's "One Survivor Remembers," which won the award for Best Documentary Short Subject. Klein's speech ran long and someone tried to get her offstage, but she persisted. Her heart-wrenching words about the Holocaust and what she went through are well worth hearing. You can watch the video here.
6. Elizabeth Taylor
In 1993, Taylor brought massive attention to a growing health crisis by using her acceptance speech for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to discuss HIV/AIDS. She said, "Tonight I am asking for your help. I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being to prove that we are a human race. To prove that our love outweighs our need to hate. That our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame. That our sensitivity to those in need is stronger than our greed."
7. Robert De Niro
De Niro earned big laughs when he won best actor for 1982's "Raging Bull" by thanking Joey LaMotta, brother of boxer Jake LaMotta -- whom De Niro had portrayed in the film -- "even though he's suing us." Watch here.
For more of the best and worst Oscar speeches, read a 1999 Washington Post article by Sharon Waxman on the lost art of the Academy Award acceptance.
More Oscars coverage from Surge Desk:
Oscars Red Carpet: The 5 Worst Dresses and Outfits of All Time [PHOTOS]
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