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In which the author comments on the subtle joy born of watching Oscar acceptance speeches of years-gone-by.

Maybe it’s the swelling strings. Maybe it’s some instinctual fellow-feeling. Maybe it’s the reflected glow cast when someone else achieves a dream, even if —especially if—that dream is a dream you don’t share, or the person achieving it is, obviously, an asshole. But, in a dry-eyed, weary world, there’s nothing like a quality Oscar acceptance speech to bring on the sniffles.

Somehow, it’s cathartic to learn that Robert DeNiro is a terrible public speaker, or that Jack Nicholson really is simultaneously mean and sexy, or that Marlon Brando wasn’t always morbidly obese and could raise a ruckus about more than his waistline, or that Charlie Chaplin exists in color, or that Julia Roberts reminds you of that one nice “mean girl” from high school, or that Nicole Kidman self-tans, or that Russell Crowe was once known for more than throwing cell phones.

(N.B.: embedding on these clips has been “disabled by request,” which is just as well, for Oscar acceptance speech browsing is best done on YouTube anyway.)