The key to a memorable Oscar acceptance speech is a great first line. "The Blind Side" star Sandra Bullock nailed it on Sunday night when picking up her Best Actress trophy for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy in the football drama.
"Did I really earn this, or did I just wear you all down?" Bullock joked with the audience, who rose to their feet for a standing ovation for the actress, who'd never been nominated before.
"I would like to thank the Academy for allowing me in the last month to have the most incredible ride with rooms full of artists that I see tonight and that I've worked with before and I hope to work with in the future, who inspire me and blaze trails for us," she continued. "Four of them that I've fallen deeply in love with I share this night with and I share this award with."
Bullock, one of the most successful female actors in Hollywood history, went on to heap praise on her fellow nominees in the actress category, Helen Mirren ("The Last Station"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education"), Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire") and perennial nominee Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia"). "Gabby, I love you so much. ... Carey, your grace, beauty and talent make me sick. ... Helen, I feel like we're family. ... And Meryl, you know what I think of you, and you're such a good kisser." The latter was a reference to the time Bullock gave Streep a big kiss after they tied for best actress at the Critics' Choice Awards in January.
"I have so many people to thank for my good fortune in this lifetime, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I know. To the family that allowed me to play them, the Tuohy family, I know they're in here and you'll probably hear her in a minute. Maybe not. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ... do something different. John Lee Hancock, Gil Netter, Alcon, Warner Bros., the actors, everyone who's shown me kindness when it wasn't fashionable, I thank you. To everyone who was mean to me when it wasn't ... George Clooney threw me in a pool years ago. I'm still holding a grudge. But there's so many people to thank."
Bullock also took time to praise mothers who never give up on their kids and her own mother, Helga, for doing the same.
"I would like to thank what this film is about, for me, which are the moms that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from," she said. "Those moms and parents never get thanked. I, in particular, failed to thank one. So ... if I can take this moment to thank Helga B. for not letting me ride in cars with boys until I was 18 because she was right.
"I would've done what she said I was gonna do. For making me practice every day when I got home. Piano, ballet, whatever it is I wanted to be. She said to be an artist, you had to practice every day, and for reminding her daughters that there's no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love. So, to that trailblazer, who allowed me to have that. And this. And this. I thank you so much for this opportunity that I share with these extraordinary women and my lover Meryl Streep. Thank you."
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