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Oscars Acceptance Speeches by the Numbers

In anticipation of this evening, when we will watch four more actors add Oscars to their shelves, Slate has put together a fascinating interactive infographic about who thanks whom — and in what order — breaking down the 39 acceptance speeches given by actors during the ceremony in the past ten years. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Academy is most often thanked first (they did just hand these people a fancy prize), followed distantly by the director — though every single actor managed to thank their director somewhere in there (as they should). Producers, industry members, co-stars and family members have historically populated the middle of the speeches, and actors who thank their children save them for last as often as not.

Surprisingly, God has only been thanked thrice in the last ten years — by Denzel Washington, Jennifer Hudson, and Forest Whitaker — and that number is trumped by Meryl Streep, the true god of the film industry, who has been thanked four times. Alan Arkin thanked “the great teachers I’ve had throughout my life, both in and out of the profession,” which we thought was nice, and Chris Cooper thanked “the womb that bore me,” which we thought could have been more expertly phrased. Perhaps Morgan Freeman had the tightest strategy, starting off his speech by thanking “everybody and anybody who ever had anything at all to do with the making of this picture.” That pretty much covers it. Head over to Slate for an interactive version of the infographic and even more.

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