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Monday, 26 March, 2001, 06:02 GMT 07:02 UK
Brevity 'best' for Oscars
Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson
Will Tom Hanks get to make another Oscar speech?
Oscar winners have kept their acceptance speeches short after being told "brevity is next to godliness".

"As an incentive, the person with the shortest speech gets a special reward: a brand-new high definition television," the producer of the ceremony Gil Cates had said at a pre-awards lunch.

Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche said she is "exhausted" by the Oscars frenzy
The only one who disobeyed the ruling was Julia Roberts, who said: "I've already got a television, so I'm going to spend some time and tell you a few things."

At the pre-awards lunch stars were shown clips of past Oscar winners accepting their awards, including director Alfred Hitchcock who walked calmly to the microphone and just said "thank you."

Recently the Oscar ceremony has got near to four hours in length and its once massive audience is declining as a consequence.

Marathon speech

There has been a 45-second rule in place for thank you speeches since the Oscars began and its worst breech yet was in the 40s.

In 1942 Greer Garson was named Best Actress for her role in Mrs Miniver and stayed on stage for an hour an a half.

More recent notorious speeches was Cuba Gooding Jr's rambling speech when named best supporting actor for his role in Jerry Maguire.

Gwyneth Paltrow may have been the talk of the town for weeping while accepting her best actress award for Shakespeare in Love, but at least she did it quickly.



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