Oscar Night 2011

Tonight is the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. It’s been years since I’ve seen the show live. For me, watching it from start to finish can be a tedious affair. And now that I live in Switzerland, the show doesn’t get started until the middle of the night, so I am usually fast asleep when the ceremony begins.

This year, however, I have more than a passing interest in one movie: The King’s Speech. Nominated in 12 categories, the movie deals with public speaking and the struggles of Britain’s King George VI to overcome a debilitating stammer.

My wife and I saw The King’s Speech earlier this week and it is superb. As there is little in the way of action, the acting had to be spot on and it was. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter are wonderful and play off each other perfectly. That the movie is based on a true story makes it even more compelling.

I will have more to say about The King’s Speech in a future post. In the meantime, if you have not yet seen it, please do so. It is entertaining and inspiring. The story of George VI and Lionel Logue demonstrates how, with determination and hard work, anyone can become a better public speaker.

Speaking of the Oscars, my friend Max Atkinson has written a post on the kind of acceptance speech that he would like to see from the winners. He even drafted a template. It would be refreshing if at least some of them heeded Max’s advice.

One of the best acceptance speeches that I’ve seen was that given by Ari Sandel, a movie director who won the Oscar for Best Short Film – Live Action in 2005. Another speech that I like was the one given by Russell Crowe in 2000 when he won the award for Best Actor for his performance in Gladiator.

For someone who appeared to be genuinely in shock when his name was called, Crowe spoke with poise and humility. I especially like the way in which he concluded on a positive and hopeful note for all struggling actors. (NB – The video cannot be embedded, so click on the link to watch it on YouTube. Crowe’s speech begins around 2:30.)


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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4 Responses to Oscar Night 2011

  1. Cindy says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on the recommendation to watch The King’s Speech. I was left with a buoyant and uplifted spirit afterwards that almost left me sleepless! As a Toastmaster, it allowed me to experience the privilege of working with others who wish to make their voices heard, striving to be the best we can when speaking publicly. Lionel Logue showed me what real compassion looks like, and better yet what a role model for telling the truth all the time and not just when it is convenient. I will see this film more then once and will purchase it for my library.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thanks, Cindy. And the Academy clearly agrees with you. I was glad to see the film do so well and was pleased for Colin Firth, whom I have always liked. Like you, I have no doubt that this film will find its way into my (limited) DVD collection.



  2. I don’t go to the theatre often but based on your recommendation I will make an effort to see this movie. So many of the movies now are given totally away in the trailers there is no need to see the actual movie. What most happens also is that you walk out of the movie and there is nothing to discuss about it. A good movie to me is one that inspires discussion about the characters, a surprise ending, the personalities, the times when it took place. The last movie I watched was Jules & Jim – I rented it from a bookstore. It is a 1962 black & white movie. The times are pre-WWI and post-WWI. An excellent movie that inspired discussion afterward. Not a dazzling spectacular movie with special effects instead it was about the character interactions.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thanks for the comment, David. My wife and I discussed the film at length over dinner afterwards, so I think that you will enjoy it. Do let me know what your impressions are after you’ve seen it.


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