Austen Inspired Acceptance Speech

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:


“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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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

11 thoughts on “Austen Inspired Acceptance Speech”

  1. I have long thought Emma Thompson’s screenplay to be one of the very best. Thank you for the annotated acceptance speech — I love her sense of humor. Have you watched Sense with her commentary?


    You know it’s been a long while since I last dug out that DVD, but now I probably would soon, and watch it with Emma Thompson’s commentary. Thanks for suggesting.



  2. Oh what fun; and the speech — a perfect illustration of sense and sensibility. It inspires me to pull out the movie to watch this evening… and to purchase the book I confess to having never read.



    Compared to the book, the movie is a breeze… but as I always try to do, reading the original first would offer you a heightened enjoyment (or a lack, depending on how good it is). But for S & S, I think Emma Thompson had done an excellent job in picking out the essentials and keeping the story flowing and in tact.



  3. Oh, thanks Arti. I remember that speech. I’m going to watch this again when I’ve finished re-reading it. I know it is highly regarded but I find Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant just not quite right for the roles. (I like Emma Thompson but she just seemed not right for Elinor). Still, I’m interested to see what I think when I watch it immediately after reading it.


    You’re right about that… Emma Thompson looked more like an Anne Elliot than Elinor Dashwood, who’s 19 in the story. And Hugh Grant wasn’t that convincing either. What do you think of the 2008 BBC production? Even though the characters are more closer in terms of age as in the book, I enjoy the movie more. If you’re interested, I’ve written a review of the two-part series here. I’m planning to reread S & S to honour its 200th anniversary, will check back to your blog for commentaries.



  4. Loved the book, loved the movie, love Emma Thompson. What more is there to say? Oh, yes: thanks, Arti!!


    My pleasure. Pertaining to whisperinggum’s comment above… come to think of it, maybe Colin Firth would have been a better choice as Edward Ferrars than Hugh Grant. Too bad he had the stamp of Darcy imprinted on him already… or maybe he was just too busy being Darcy, considering both came out in the same year.



  5. Simply delightful and a reminder to get my VHS (yes, I know — I bought it a long while ago!) off the shelf and give it another watch. Such a gifted actress with such humor — did you ever see her Brit sketch comedy show “Thompson” many years ago? It did a stint on PBS in the 80s — wonder if that one is on video? So young, obviously gifted, with a young Kenneth Brannagh in the company (and Imelda Staunton, I think, and others.)

    All these years later I find it interesting her mention of any number of people, but not co-star Greg Wise –I wonder if they are still together. Oh, dear — you may be sending me on a google search!

    My favorite holiday card sent this year — Lovely English ladies with Magi behind the spinet and the caption “Frankincense and Sensibility.”


    I’m afraid I’m a late discoverer of the Thompson’s, not until her 1995 S & S, I think. And that’s why I have to Google The Magic Roundabout, in which her father is the narrator. have provided the link there at the end of my post. And with all the spin-offs and parodies of Jane Austen’s works, I admit I’m not much of a fan… except a few imaginary sequels. Nothing compares to the original. 😉 2011 is a good year to start revisiting as the 200th anniversary of her other works will soon follow. Thanks for your comment!



  6. Awesome speech! Thanks for posting it — very enjoyable. 🙂


    The clip is included in the Special Features of the S & S (1995) DVD. You can enjoy it more often. 😉



  7. Oh, my, that’s so funny! How clever. I’ve been in the mood for costume dramas lately; maybe I should watch an Austen adaptation.


    What better time to celebrate Jane Austen than now, the 200th anniversary of S & S. Get the S & S (1995) DVD, you’ll see the award winning adaptation with Emma Thompson’s audio commentary, as well as this acceptance speech in the Special Features.



  8. Arti – I am too long away from visiting here! oh, the antics of deep snow and the shoveling antics that follow. And it’s here again this morning.

    I loved this entry. Look at that Emma! But time is always kind to her, she looks wonderful always and must be a good person. And the speech was such fun, so well put, so Austen – bravo on every front and thanks for writing it here for us.

    Hoping to see THE KING’S SPEECH this week.
    more soon!


    Regarding ‘deep snow’… here’s a must-see clip that you’ve probably seen:

    I’m sure you’ll love TKS, enjoy!



  9. Ahhhhh!

    We just watched S & S again, and so happy we did. Because I love it so much, and because it’s fresh in my mind before reading this wonderful post and listening to Emma’s speech. I’m glad you transcribed it, because the video kept stopping for me just before the end. I really want to finish it, and I’ll try at the office ….

    Ms. Thompson is utterly brilliant, in every way. Don’t you think she and Ms. Austen would have gotten on famously? What a treat this is, in what otherwise will no doubt be a sea of boring speeches. 🙂 But as I’ve said before, even the Brits who don’t plan such an entertainment as this, speak with charm and wit, and it’s not just because of their accents. 🙂


    Have you watched the 2009 TV adaptation of S & S? That Andrew Davis’ version, compared with Emma Thompson’s, are the exact contrast between Marianne and Elinor.

    Regarding whether all Brits speak with charm and wit… I’d like to think so, but just have to say there are exceptions… most notably, our host at the Golden Globes, RG.



  10. Arti ~

    Oh, now. Silly me. Of course I’ve heard about Emma Thompson, because I’ve been reading you for years. But I don’t remember Emma Thompson. And I keep looking at the Austen on my bookshelf, but not reading it. Sigh.

    Well, now that I’ve taken your advice on The King’s Speech and been so utterly entranced, it’s time to move on to something new. Maybe this will be it.

    That snow video has been all over tv here. It’s the winter version of trying to fry eggs on the sidewalk in August. Or actually frying those eggs, which we can do from time to time. I have a friend who moved to Minnesota and learned another lesson about boiling water – don’t use it to remove ice from your car’s windshield when it’s ten below. 😉


    Isn’t that a creative acceptance speech? All due to the ingenuity of Jane Austen. And did you catch that… the director Ang Lee is originally from Taiwan… just speaks to the universality of Austen’s works.

    You’re right about our wintry experiment being the opposite version of your frying an egg on the sidewalk in your summer… the ingenious ways we try to amuse ourselves in the midst of extreme weather. Now that the clip has gone viral, somebody should think of other entertaining ways… just a couple more months. But, I’m not complaining at the moment, we’re getting above zero temperatures now… a warm spell compared to the East coast.



  11. Great speech. I do love Thompson’s S&S. Have you ever had the chance to watch it with the commentary? Thompson is a hoot. Apparently Ang Lee kept telling her to please try and not look so old. I have S&S on my reading list this year. I am looking forward to reading it. It has been a long time.


    You’re the second commenter asking me if I’d watched Emma Thompson’s commentary. Guess I must watch it again, with her com… cause I have no memory of that. Now, how can you stop looking old? She was a bit over 19 when she made S&S, wasn’t she? 😉 Yes, I am planning to reread S & S too some time this year for the celebration.



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