While female songstresses Adele and Jennifer Hudson delivered the biggest emotional punches during Sunday night’s Oscars telecast, it was the award-winning men who gave the best speeches.
Between Daniel Day-Lewis, winner of the lead actor award for his role as the 16th president in “Lincoln,” and Ben Affleck’s emotional treatise on his career, the two men were responsible for the most carefully thought-out comments of the evening.
Day-Lewis, who was as much of a sure thing Sunday night as the annual “In Memoriam” segment, spent a good chunk of his speech riffing on an imaginary casting swap between himself and his presenter, Meryl Streep.
“Before we agreed to a straight swap, I had been committed to play Margaret Thatcher...,” he said to raucous applause. “And Meryl was Steven’s first choice for ‘Lincoln.’ I’d like to see that version.”
Affleck, who was snubbed in the director category, took to the stage as one of the producers behind best picture winner “Argo.” He used his time before the microphone to expound on his wild career trajectory.
“I never thought I’d be back here and I am,” said Affleck, who won his first Oscar for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” 15 years ago when he was “a kid.”
After that, his career in Hollywood had many misfires before he turned it around with his foray into directing.
“It’s because of so many of you who are here tonight,” he said. “Because of so many who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit from it. I couldn’t get them a job. I want to thank them for what they taught me, that you have to work harder than anyone else. You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard. But you can’t hold grudges. It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life. That’s going to happen. All that matters is you’ve got to get up.”
The other moving moment of the evening belonged to the husband-and-wife directing team of Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, who made the documentary short “Inocente,” about a homeless teenage artist living in San Diego.
The duo stood onstage flanking the subject of their film.
“Most of all, we want to thank this young lady who was homeless just a year ago and now she’s standing in front of all of you and she’s an artist and all of you are artists and we feel like we need to start supporting the arts,” said Sean Fine. “They’re dying in our communities. We need to stand up and help girls like her be seen and heard. It’s so important.”