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2011 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility, her first published novel.  And since we are in the midst of Awards Season, inundated (or soon to be) with speeches, I’d like to join these two occasions and celebrate both Austen and fine speeches.

The 1995 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility had received numerous awards, most notably accolades for Emma Thompson’s screenplay, which had garnered the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and ultimately, the Oscar. I have posted this before a few years ago, but think it is high time we read or reread Austen’s wonderful novel and be entertained again by the very talented Emma Thompson.

Also, I’m sure you would love to read a transcript of it, one of the most unique awards acceptance speeches of some time. Since the event occurred some fifteen years ago, I have taken the liberty to annotate (in parentheses) and format it in a way to enhance your reading pleasure.

Here it is, Emma Thompson’s Acceptance Speech at the 53rd Golden Globe, 1996, for Best Adapted Screenplay, Sense And Sensibility:

“I can’t thank you enough, Hollywood Foreign Press, for honouring me in this capacity.  I don’t wish to burden you with my debts, which are heavy and numerous, but I think that everybody involved in the making of this film knows that we owe all our pride and all our joy to the genius of Jane Austen.  And, it occurred to me to wonder how she would react to an evening like this.  This is what I came up with:

Four A.M.   Having just returned from an evening at the Golden Spheres, which despite the inconveniences of heat, noise and overcrowding, was not without its pleasures.  Thankfully, there were no dogs and no children.  The gowns were middling.  There was a good deal of shouting and behaviour verging on the profligate, however, people were very free with their compliments and I made several new acquaintances.

  • Miss Lindsay Doran (producer), of Mirage, wherever that might be, who is largely responsible for my presence here, an enchanting companion about whom too much good cannot be said.
  • Mr. Ang Lee (director), of foreign extraction, who most unexpectedly appeared to understand me better than I understand myself.
  • Mr. James Schamus (co-produceer), a copiously erudite gentleman, and
  • Miss Kate Winslet (role of Marianne Dashwood) , beautiful in both countenance and spirit.
  • Mr. Pat Doyle, a composer and a Scot, who displayed the kind of wild behaviour one has learnt to expect from that race.
  • Mr. Mark Canton, an energetic person with a ready smile who, as I understand it, owes me a vast deal of money.
  • Miss Lisa Henson — a lovely girl, and
  • Mr. Gareth Wigan — a lovely boy.

I attempted to converse with Mr. Sydney Pollack (executive producer), but his charms and wisdom are so generally pleasing that it proved impossible to get within ten feet of him.  The room was full of interesting activity until eleven P.M. when it emptied rather suddenly.  The lateness of the hour is due therefore not to the dance, but to the waiting, in a long line for a horseless carriage of unconscionable size. The modern world has clearly done nothing for transport.

P.S. Managed to avoid the hoyden Emily Tomkins who has purloined my creation and added things of her own.  Nefarious creature.

With gratitude and apologies to Miss Austen, thank you.”

***

Transcript of Emma Thompson’s speech taken from the book The Sense And Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries by Emma Thompson, published by Newmarket, 2007.

Note here on the back of the cover page these words:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

“I should like to acknowledge the profoundest debt for my having developed any sense of humour to Jane Austen, Monty Python and The Magic Roundabout

 

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