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Top 10 Celebs Who Give the BEST Award Show Speeches

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher

These celebrities give speeches that leave us totally speechless. From Adele to Tom Hanks to Viola Davis, WatchMojo is counting down the celebrities consistently offer up the most engaging, inspiring or hilarious speeches at award shows.

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Script written by Savannah Sher

Top 10 Celebs Who Give the BEST Award Show Speeches


These celebrities give speeches that leave us totally speechless. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 People Who Give the BEST Award Show Speeches.



For this list, we’re looking at celebrities who consistently offer up the most engaging, inspiring or hilarious speeches at award shows.





#10: Jon Stewart


From 1999 to 2015, this comedian and commentator was at the helm of “The Daily Show” four nights a week, showing just what a great speaker he can be. Jon Stewart has plenty of experience in front of a live audience, so it should come as no surprise that he totally kills it on the awards show stage. His particular brand of satirical humor works well for a variety of different crowds, and whether it’s at the Emmys or the Peabody Awards, he’s always able to make viewers at home laugh right along with him.



#9: Adele


If you’ve ever heard any of Adele’s music, you know she can really dig deep when it comes to her emotions. While she isn’t known for making a ton of public appearances, she does always bring her A-game when it comes to accepting awards- which happens pretty often. And she always bares her most raw feelings to the audience. In 2017, when Adele was up for Album of the Year against Beyoncé’s groundbreaking record “Lemonade”, she took the time in her acceptance speech to give credit her fellow musician and even broke the award in half in order to demonstrate her feelings.



#8: Frances McDormand


Frances McDormand has been in the business for years, but she may not have become a household name until very recently. In early 2018, McDormand managed to pretty much sweep awards season in the Best Actress category for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”. She delivered humbling and funny speeches at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, but her most notable speech was at the Academy Awards. In the midst of all the discussion about gender equality in Hollywood, McDormand asked all the female nominees in the audience to stand with her in a powerful moment that marked the night.



#7: Angelina Jolie


Over the years, this actress’ award show speeches have been notable for a wide variety of different reasons. She sometimes aims to shock and awe, but in more recent years, her words have been poignant ones that have highlighted her dedication to a variety of charitable causes. In 2014, she was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscars, and displayed a sense of poise and grace that stood out to viewers. Now known just as much for her non-profit ventures as for her on-screen prowess, we can’t wait to see how her speeches continue to evolve.



#6: Tom Hanks


Can you think of anyone in Hollywood who is better liked than this guy? Tom Hanks charms everyone around him, as well as at home audiences, and his award show speeches just exemplify how darn likable he is. When accepting a Golden Globe Award for his role in “Big” in 1989, Hanks took the time to give credit to the young actor who he worked with on the film, all while totally cracking the crowd up. Over the years, he has accepted a great number of awards, and whether it’s accepting and Oscar, a Golden Globe or an AFI Life Achievement Award, Hanks always brings his personable self to the stage.





#5: Viola Davis


While some actors use the platform the are given when they accept an award to make the audience laugh or give a heartfelt thanks to the people who have supported them, Viola Davis almost always takes the opportunity to make a political statement. She uses her powerful voice to bring up issues about race, gender and class and how they relate to Hollywood. These are topics that can never get too much exposure, and her words always make us consider the underlying factors at play that may not have been at the forefront of our minds before her speech began.



#4: Will Ferrell


One of the funniest guys in the business is bound to deliver some great award show speeches. Will Ferrell spent some of his formative years on Saturday Night Live, so he knows how to roll with the punches while making people roll around with laughter. It’s sometimes hard to differentiate Ferrell from the hilarious characters he tends to play, and to be honest he may be at his funniest when he’s acting as himself. While he has made incredible appearances at major shows like the Emmys and Golden Globes, one of our favorite speeches he has ever made has to be when accepting the Mark Twain Prize in 2011.



#3: Meryl Streep


As one of the most heavily nominated and awarded actors of our age, Meryl Streep has had plenty of opportunities to speak at award shows throughout her career. And no matter the occasion, she manages to be both warm and full of humility. In January of 2017, just months after Donald Trump was elected as president, Streep was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes and took the opportunity not to focus on her own career, but rather to give a rousing speech about the current political climate. Though she has made an impact many times over the years, this instance has to be the most notable.



#2: Oprah Winfrey


It’s tough to follow up Meryl, but when Oprah was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award one year after Streep was, we knew she was the only person who could possibly show up the previous year’s speech. With her own daytime talk show running from 1986 to 2011, Oprah is no stranger to public speaking, and always manages to come off as fiercely intelligent yet somehow relatable. She can make the audience laugh while empowering them to action, always straddling the line between entertaining and inspiring. Can we please make Oprah 2020 happen?





Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.





Sandra Bullock





Lupita Nyong'o





Julia Louis-Dreyfus





#1: Robin Williams


One of the entertainment industry’s greatest treasures left us far too soon. Robin Williams was undeniably one of the funniest figures to ever grace our screens, and parlayed his incredible humor to everything he did. While his primary asset was certainly his comedy, it was always clear that there was a lot of heart behind everything he said and did. His speeches at award shows over the years condensed all the best parts of his personality and are perpetually rewatchable. Since his death in 2014, we have only come to appreciate his speeches even more.

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