13 January 2009
One of the few good speeches at a showbiz awards ceremony was Paul Hogan’s warm-up act at the Oscars in 1986 (for his key advice to winners on the three Gs, see video clip below, or here for the full version).
But Kate Winslet was only 11 years old at the time and probably never even saw it. So, at the Golden Globe awards the other day, she joined Gwyneth Paltrow and Halle Berry in the hall of fame for award winners’ embarrassing speeches (see below after Paul Hogan's much neglected advice).
But then why should anyone expect actors to be any good at speech-making?
After all, their skill is to deliver other people’s lines in a way that portrays characters other than themselves, which is a very different business from writing your own lines and coming across as yourself.
Politically active thespians like Glenda Jackson, M.P., and Vanessa Redgrave may be admired for their successful acting careers, but neither of them is particularly impressive when it comes to making political speeches.
In fact, the only example of an actor who did become a great public speaker that I can think of is Ronald Reagan, but he’d already been rolling his own speeches on the lecture circuit for General Electric long before he became Governor of California – with a contract from the company that ‘required him to tour GE plants ten weeks out of the year, often demanding of him fourteen speeches per day’ (Wikipedia).