Year: 1999 (72nd) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Leading Role
Film Title: American Beauty
Winner: Kevin Spacey
Presenter: Gwyneth Paltrow
Date & Venue: March 26, 2000; Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center
This is the highlight of my day. I hope it is not all downhill from here. I first have to say that I would like to dedicate this to the man who inspired my performance. A man who has been my friend and my mentor, and since my father died, a little bit like my father, whose performance in "The Apartment" stands as one of the finest we've ever had. Jack Lemmon, wherever you are, thank you, thank you, thank you.
To my friends, for pointing out my worst qualities. I know you do it because you love me. And that's why I loved playing "Lester," because we got to see all of his worst qualities and we still grew to love him. This movie to me is all about how any single act from any single person put out of context is damnable. But the joy of this movie is that it is real beauty. We found real beauty in this extraordinary script by Sam Mendes -- by Alan Ball. It feels like he wrote it though, doesn't it?
I am very proud to be an actor, and I have tried very hard to protect my work; and I am stunned and a bit speechless. And Dianne, thank you for teaching me about caring about the right things, and I love you. And Mother, I don't care what they say about bringing you to award shows. I will always bring you to award shows because I'm proud of you and I love you. And thank you, thank you, thank you.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]