As the first black woman to receive a Best Actress Oscar, Halle Berry gave an emotional acceptance speech when she won in 2002, beginning "This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It's for the women that stand beside me: Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it's for every nameless, faceless woman of colour that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
When Angelina Jolie attended the Oscars in 2000, she hit headlines after she kissed her brother, James Haven, on the red carpet and then declared “I’m so in love with my brother right now. He just held me and said he loved me” during her Best Supporting Actress Award acceptance speech for Girl, Interrupted. The actress later laughed off the media furore, calling it "pathetic".
Marlon Brando boycotted the 1973 ceremony, sending actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather instead to explain that he was "very respectfully" turning down the statuette for Best Actor as a protest against "the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television".
His role in Good Will Hunting earned Robin Williams Best Supporting Actor at the 1998 Awards. After a characteristically sweet and humorous speech, Williams became sentimental as he thanked his late father. "Most of all, I want to thank my father, up there, the man who when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said, 'Wonderful, just have a back-up profession - like welding.'"
Gwyneth Paltrow's tear-filled thanks for the Best Actress award for Shakespeare In Love in 1999 is often remembered as the most famous sobbing speech of all time.
Determined to make the most of her moment at the 2001 ceremony, Julia Roberts advised the person whose job it was to cue the music at the end of the speech that she might be a while: “Sir, you’re doing a great job, but you’re so quick with that stick, so why don’t you sit. I may never be here again.” She finished with the endearing and enduring line, “I love the world. I’m so happy. Thank you!”
Lupita Nyong'o won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in 12 Years A Slave in 2014, saying in her poignant acceptance speech: “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.”
Tom Hanks gave a famously sweet acceptance speech when he won the Best Actor Award for the second year in a row for Forrest Gump, becoming emotional as he thanked his wife for “demonstrating for me everyday just what love is”.
J Law taught an important lesson in how to recover after a fall when she took a tumble as she went onto the stage in 2013. "You're all only standing because I fell and that was embarrassing," she joked with the audience as they gave her a standing ovation.
In 2015, when Patricia Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in Boyhood she used the platform to call for gender equality, telling the audience: “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” She later qualified that she was supporting the women's movement as a whole.