Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and More Give Lessons on the Perfect Acceptance Speech

4. Have a Great Opening Line

Speech 101: Always open with a joke. Cynics and curmudgeons will debate the validity of this advice, but if Barbra Streisand's acceptance speech is any indication, opening with the right one-liner could be as much of a career boon as the award itself:



To say that the "this is so much heavier than I imagined!" joke has become trite would be an understatement, but as Marlon Brando shows, once upon a time it was fresh material:



Julie Andrews became a national treasure with her opener:



And Dianne Wiest proved herself nearly as funny as her Oscar scribe Woody Allen with her ice-breaker:



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Kevin Fallon is a reporter for the Daily Beast. He's a former entertainment editor at TheWeek.com and former writer and producer for The Atlantic's entertainment channel.

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