A Handy Guide To Accepting An Award

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JODIE FOSTER GOLDEN GLOBES
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The chances are good that you're not going to take home an Oscar on Sunday, but we took a look at the massive history of acceptance speeches in order to figure out how you ought to accept the award (just in case).

Try and stay sober-ish.
But if you plan on getting drunk, save it for the Golden Globes.

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Appear to be genuinely surprised.
Surprise is good, because it indicates humbleness. Everyone wants to think you had no idea you were going to win. Although, as Taylor Swift has learned, make sure there is not proof you, in fact, know for sure that you were going to win.

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Avoid being self-aggrandizing in any way.
Halle Berry calling herself an "inspiration" was only slightly less off-putting than James Cameron quoting "Titanic" ... when he won for "Titanic." You're winning an Oscar! You're great! We already know that, King of the World.

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Do your best to avoid outing people ...
See Tom Hanks Oscars win for Best Actor ("Philadelphia") in 1994.

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... And if you plan on maybe possibly coming out yourself, do so coherently.
See Jodie Foster's Cecil B. Demille Award acceptance at the 2013 Golden Globes.

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Don't feel the need to cry.
According to Time, 71 percent of all Oscar tears have been shed since 1995, but only 21 percent of actors cry at all. So, it's a relatively recent addition to the ceremony. Those that do get emotional, usually do so when they thank family members, which might be why they're most often thanked for the end.

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Thank producers before your kids.
The most gratitude goes to the cast and crew, with many less thank you's for families. When a spouse or offspring do get thanked, it's most often toward the end of the speech (most susceptible to being played off).

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Thank your fellow nominees by name.
When Sandra Bullock won for "The Blind Side" in 2009, she mentioned each of her fellow nominees by name (instead of just lumping them together as "my fellow nominees"), starting a trend of graciousness that has been continued by Daniel Day Lewis, Anne Hathaway and Christoph Waltz.

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And also thank Meryl Streep.
Slate crunched the numbers and discovered Meryl gets thanked more than God at the Oscars. It's just due diligence.

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Finally, do not let the "stick man" wave you off.
If we learned anything from Jacqueline Bisset, it's that the orchestral music is powerless. It started playing at the Golden Globes, but she just kept on rambling speaking. And when Cate Blanchett got her cue to leave at the SAG Awards this year, she also refused to leave the stage, citing the fact that Matthew McConaughey had much longer than her "29 seconds." But we've been aware of the "stick man" since Julia Roberts' 2001 speech, when she won for "Erin Brockovich."

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