Academy Awards Acceptance Speeches | Margaret Herrick Library | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

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Year: 1983 (56th) Academy Awards

Category: Actress in a Leading Role

Film Title: Terms of Endearment

Winner: Shirley MacLaine

Presenter: Rock Hudson, Liza Minnelli

Date & Venue: April 9, 1984; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

I'm gonna cry because this show has been as long as my career. I have wondered for twenty-six years what this would feel like. Thank you so much for terminating the suspense. Oh my, I am nervous.

I'm not going to thank everybody I've ever met in my entire life -- although, with the way my mind has been going lately probably everybody I've ever met in my entire life and in the other life I might have had had something to do with this. You know, if "Terms of Endearment" had happened to me five years ago, I think I would have called it a thrilling, commercial, artistic accident. But I don't believe that anymore. I don't believe there's any such thing as accident. I think that we all manifest what we want and what we need. I don't think there's any difference really between what you feel you have to do in your heart and success. They're inseparable.

Jim Brooks deeply wanted to make a film about the defects and imperfections and foibles of people in a humorous and loving way. And he had such passion. It was unbelievable to watch. He's being very modest with himself tonight. It was unbelievable. His sense of truth was so accurate that he overwhelmed his own insecurities, and Paramount's. I guess we all did the same thing.

I have wanted to work with the comic chemistry of Jack Nicholson since his chicken salad sandwich scene in "Easy Pieces." And to have him in bed was such middle-aged joy. I wanted to work with the turbulent brilliance of Debra Winger. She literally inhabited the character so thoroughly that I thought for four months I had two daughters.

But in the end just let me say one thing. Films and life are like clay waiting for us to mold it. And when you trust your own insides, and that becomes achievement, it's a kind of a principle that seems to me is at work with everyone. God bless that principle. God bless that potential that we all have for making anything possible if we think we deserve it. I deserve this. Thank you.

© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]