The Carpetbagger: The Best Oscar Week Speeches You Didn’t See

The Carpetbagger

The Best Oscar Week Speeches You Didn’t See

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Regina Hall, a winner at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards, spoke forthrightly about challenges faced by actresses of color.CreditCreditRich Polk/Getty Images for Essence

By Kyle Buchanan

The cameras were off. The show was untelevised. And Melissa McCarthy finally had the chance to tee off on her fellow nominee for the best actress Oscar, Glenn Close.

“I think we all truly find her sketchy,” McCarthy told the audience at the Oscar Wilde Awards in Santa Monica on Thursday night. “And when I say sketchy, I don’t want you to take it the wrong way. I mean truly shady.”

The crowd, including Close, roared with laughter. “Why the two N’s?” McCarthy continued. “Why the double scoop? I think I’m not alone in wondering.”

Close then took the stage and indulged in a bit of playful ribbing herself by intentionally mangling her presenter’s name. “That Melissa McCartney, she’s a whore for the spotlight,” Close said, grinning.

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In January, when she won the Golden Globe for her performance in “The Wife,” Close gave a stirring speech about female empowerment that brought the crowd to its feet; at the far more relaxed Oscar Wilde Awards, sponsored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, she simply signed off by saying, “I’m in the middle of my Guinness, and I’m really happy to be here.”

The Favourite” and “Mary Poppins Returns,” spoke to the crowd about the gender imbalance on film sets. “I really hope that one day, it’s going to be 50/50,” Powell said. “I would love to be working with female grips and electricians.”

KiKi Layne, who made her film debut last year in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” She continued, “It’s really exciting and I’m so very thankful, but it’s also extremely terrifying.”

“It is the very beginning for me,” she said, near tears. “And being here in this room and receiving this award, it’s showing me that I’m not by myself in all of this.”

Support the Girls,” spoke honestly about a career in which every high has to be fought for. “I never had a quantum leap that was overnight,” she said. “But there’s so much you learn in the journey, and I’m grateful for that.”

In a funny speech delivered off the cuff, Hall, 48, talked about a palm reader who once told her that she’d be successful later in life. “As women, you feel like you have a clock,” she said. She paid tribute to her agents and lawyers — “They fight for me like I’m a 30-year-old white man,” Hall said — and recalled years of auditioning and struggling to book roles. Once, told she was about to receive a big offer, Hall learned it was actually meant for the actress Regina King.

That sort of career has given her a perspective on awards luncheons. “These moments are amazing and they’re exciting, but they’re fleeting,” Hall said. “Tomorrow will go on. My agent will call me and say, ‘They still haven’t responded.’ It’s never ending.”

She continued, “But it’s not really about that. It’s about what we show each other.” Closing her speech, she scanned the room. “I see you,” she told the crowd of mostly black women. “Sometimes we wait for the world to see us. Let us see each other before the world does.”

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