Lessons from the Oscars’ Quotable Quotes

Of course the morning after the Oscars is a fun time to reflect on the celebrities’ dresses. But as USA Today noted in their morning-after article, “Oscar show mixes old and new…, there were also several quotable quotes that serve as lessons for spokespersons and presenters.

  1. Nail your delivery: Sandra Bullock’s remarks were clearly scripted and, in fact, they followed the same format as Jeff Bridge’s comments only a few moments earlier. Everything about her body language and vocal delivery nailed it and USA Today recognized Bullock as the “best greeter.”
  2. Grab their attention with an unexpected opening: Not all awards capture our full attention during a more than three-hour broadcast. People might have missed the winner of best art direction (Robert Stromberg for Alice in Wonderland) had he not opened with the line, “Why didn’t I lose that 20 pounds?” I might have scripted a slightly different surprising opening line so that he’d be remembered for his craft and not his weight…but he absolutely caught our attention in a night mostly centered on the rush of beautiful celebrities. The audience is all yours during the first few seconds after you step to the microphone. Use those precious seconds well!
  3. Say it don’t slay it: Last night’s Oscars show was all about targeting a younger audience. The hosts mentioned early on that they were chosen to be “cool and hip.” Then they said it again…and again and again in case we forgot. Don’t abuse your quotable quotes.
  4. Beware of trying too hard to be funny: Justin Timberlake’s reference to Bansky (the street artist legend) and James Franco’s reference to a text message from Charlie Sheen both were scripted to be funny but fell flat. Timberlake’s reference felt like an inside joke and Franco’s comic timing was off (sadly for much of the night). Beware of humor…it’s hard to pull off.
  5. Don’t ramble: It was painful to watch the too-many award recipients who rambled. If overcome with emotion, as I’m sure they were, they would have been much better served by standing tall and saying, “Thank you. I am humbled by this distinguished award.” At least they might have been remembered for being poised and coherent.
  6. Finally…Stay in the moment: Melissa Leo reminded us early on in the evening about the hazards of stepping out of the moment. Her foul language reverberated in the theatre and was broadcast live to an audience of a billion people worldwide.  Her excuse on the morning talk shows today was that she was swept away by the moment. Sadly her inappropriate comment may be remembered long after people have forgotten who won the award for best supporting actress in 2011.  Stay in the moment and be very aware what that moment is all about.

2 Responses to “Lessons from the Oscars’ Quotable Quotes”

  1. Excellent post – I will use this checklist before my next event.

    • Beryl Loeb says:

      Thanks, Peggy. I’ve posted a few other blogs with tips that might be helpful. Will you be presenting and answering questions? Talking to the press?

Leave a Reply