The 3 Most Memorable Oscar Acceptance Speeches of the 1990s

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Who will step out together on the Red Carpet this year?

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Who will step out together on the Red Carpet this year?

This time of year, Hollywood buzzes with anticipation of perhaps its most important night of the year. It's Oscar time in Tinseltown, and stars are finalizing dress and tuxedo measurements, writing or practicing their acceptance speeches (unless they're brave and choose to "wing" it), and making sure the limousine rentals are all in place. The Academy Awards are coming February 26th, and we're sure butterflies and excitement are mounting among those chosen as nominees this year.

The 1990s were a great time for cinema. A big boom in independently produced films brought about some exciting changes in Hollywood. Films like "Swingers," "American Beauty" and "Boogie Nights" all helped push alternative story lines and content into the mainstream. We thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of the best Oscar acceptance speeches of the decade.

Denzel Washington's "Glory" - In 1990, Denzel Washington won his first of two Oscars, this one for Best Supporting Actor for his work in "Glory," an amazing film about African-American soldiers fighting for the Union during The Civil War. Denzel opened his speech by jokingly thanking God for being able to actually use his acceptance speech. The speech itself was memorable for its tremendous class and simplicity. There was even a twinge of emotion when he thanked the men of the army's all-black unit that inspired the film.

Tiny Anna Paquin's Giant Moment - She wasn't even quite 12-years-old when the future "True Blood" star won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1994 for her work in "The Piano." Young Anna was visibly stunned and moved as she spent the first fifteen or twenty seconds at the podium breathing heavily and just looking both amazed and bewildered. It's also fun to watch this clip today and hear Anna using her New Zealander accent, as most people have nearly forgotten now that the Canadian-born actress actually grew up a Kiwi.

Cuba Gooding, Jr. Loves Everyone! - In 1997 Cuba won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in "Jerry Maguire" the year before. His excitement was clearly visible and infectious as we took the dais to accept his award. What the speech will be remembered for is that Gooding would not yield the mic as the orchestra's crescendo swelled louder and louder. But the folks in the theater that night didn't moan or groan, they cheered, whooped and gave the actor a standing ovation as he pronounced to them and everyone watching that he loved them all.

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