#NewsBytesExplainer: Understanding Academy Award's 45-second award acceptance speech rule
What can you even do in merely 45 seconds? Well, if you are on the Academy's stage, that's all the time you have to thank your team, family, fans, and anyone else you can think of in that overwhelming moment! The Academy Awards, which are live-streamed globally, have a fixed rule: speakers get 45 seconds after they're honored with the award. Let's decode it.
Why does the Academy insist on short speeches?
The motive behind short speeches is simple: the Academy doesn't want the event to go on and on, and with over 20 categories to present and some comedy sets and musical performances in between, the ceremony already clocks in about three hours. This is, of course, preceded by a red-carpet event where celebrities converse with media, so a lot needs to be done.
Greer Garson gave the longest speech!
The Academy's decision to cap the limit to 45 seconds came in 2010. The catalyst behind this massive change is believed to be actor Greer Garson, who spoke for nearly seven minutes in 1943 after she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for Mrs. Miniver (1942). Her record, of course, remains unbroken and is likely to remain so.
What happens when 45 seconds are up?
Once the timer stops ticking and 45 seconds are up, music begins playing which drowns the speaker's voice. It doesn't happen when the speaker is, say, overwhelmed with emotions and is recounting their life's struggles and how these led them to filmmaking eventually. Recently, Oscar-winning documentary The Elephant Whisperers producer Guneet Monga didn't get to speak a word and this "disrespect" enraged Indians.
'A grocery list' in the name of speech? Not allowed
While speaking to CNN ahead of the recently concluded 95th Academy Awards, executive producer and showrunner Ricky Kirshner revealed why he puts a time stamp on the acceptance speeches. "If you are given a heartfelt, well-meaning speech, you will not get cut off. If you start reading your grocery list of what you need to do tomorrow, probably the music's gonna come in."