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One of the things I loved about Meryl Streep's Golden Globes speech for her Best Actress win was how real she was. She blurted out what seemed to be the first thing on her mind: "I want to change my name to T-Bone." Silly as it was, it worked for her, got a laugh, and kicked off her speech with a fun opening.
She then commented that she was going to forget what she wanted to say because she was "overwrought." So she asked out loud, "Darn, what was my first part?" And several people responded, "Nora!" Which got her back on track with her speech.
She felt comfortable enough in front of that audience that she was able to be herself. She didn't rush, she didn't panic, she spoke from the heart. Many actors are not particularly comfortable being themselves on stage, as I've noted here and here, but T-Bone Streep has managed to conquer this problem that faces so many actors.
Now, to one of my favorite parts of the show: Watching how actors respond when their names are called as nominees. For many people, this is as awkward a position to be in as public speaking. I've put them into categories this time.
Actors who nod graciously and smile
Michael C. Hall
Actors who mug for the camera (fake surprise, fake smile, goofy face)
Neil Patrick Harris
Actors who look embarrassed (avoid the camera, talk to neighbors, shake head, look down)
And a little side note about Mavis Spencer, Miss Golden Globe, who stood awkwardly as the camera lingered on her during her introduction. She barely cracked a smile, she didn't nod or acknowledge the audience applause, and didn't look particularly excited to be on stage. Perhaps she was paralyzed with fear.
This is one of those things that no one ever prepares for, yet if they were to take a few minutes to practice what to do with face and body during this part of the ceremony, they would be able to handle it so much better! This is where "fake it till you make it" can really come into play. Smile, nod, look happy, wave at the camera. Pretend you're having fun. You might feel like a complete dork inside, but you don't have to look like one on the outside. And believe me, I know what I'm talking about, because I would fall into the category of "mug for the camera." I'm working on it.
There's another speech that I would like to talk about if I could find the video or transcript, so if anyone can find Christoph Waltz' speech online, please let me know! I've been searching and searching.