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365 Days of Oscar: Kathy Bates’ Great Acceptance Speech

Largely best known for her work on the stage until 1990, Kathy Bates was overnight sensation twenty years in the making when she received her breakout role in Rob Reiner’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery. For her work as the psychologically complex nurse and obsessed fan Annie Wilkes, Bates became a household name – and one of the rare performers to win an Oscar for portraying a villain in a genre film.

In a stacked category, Bates prevailed over such luminaries as Anjelica Huston (The Grifters), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman), Meryl Streep (Postcards From the Edge), and Joanne Woodward (Mr. and Mrs. Bridge). Graceful and grateful, her acceptance speech was that of a true veteran. In addition to a few sweet shoutouts to co-star James Caan and Reiner, she acknowledges her nominees, “whose work continues to humble and inspire me.” It’s the kind of line that has influenced a thousand speeches to come (or at least, of, four per year on the Oscar stage.) It was both effortless and meaningful.

See the speech in full here.

This article is part of a special year-long series of anecdotes, reflections and thoughts about the Academy Awards.