First, we'll look at two of last year's most memorable speeches from Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence, and then we'll dig into more general tips on how to detect gratitude from great acting.
In the case of Anne Hathaway, Constatine is a bit split. She says that Hathaway is "well rehearsed," noting that she lists people in terms of their "level of importance." She’s "breathless at first from the adrenaline." However, she's definitely in control of the situation. Anne is, above all else, "well rehearsed." And, she uses the pulsing of the statue to emphasize those she's thanking.
“Sometimes [Anne's] face is a masked face. A masked face is one that you want the world to see because you feel that’s what people want to see and hear, and that’s why you project that," Constantine explains. Still, Anne's base emotion is absolute gratitude. Constantine argues Hathaway's smile is genuine. This can be noted in the raising of the cheekbones and increased wrinkles around the eyes. Constantine also explains that Anne's aside, "dreams do come true," is a deviation from her otherwise buttoned-up, well-rehearsed speech. It's an off-the-cuff moment that can be noted by her "girl like" voice. "Her voice lowers and becomes more secret-like, which indicates there's a lack of confidence on the part of the speaker." And, while we've never noticed a lack of confidence in Hathaway, it's easy to see how blissful she was about her win.
Jennifer Lawrence's speech was almost the opposite of Anne Hathaway's. Constantine thinks she's "very authentic, believable, and likable. There's a sense of empathy." Most important, though, Lawrence's hand gestures mirror what she's saying. "She’s thankful, she’s like, 'Thank you so much,' then the hands [going to the heart or stomach] match the words. When it’s not true, the hand gestures and their verbal content are in discord." And, the famous fall? Well, that only added to the charm of the speech. "I love the fact that instead of pretending it didn’t happen, she brought attention to it, which really is a great skill for a professional speaker,” Constantine explains. “Because everybody saw it. I think it created more of that likability factor, because she basically said, 'Look how I just screwed up' and she brought attention to it. I think that was very authentic."
But, what about all the speeches coming up? What should we look for on Sunday night?
And, the most grateful hand gestures? "Always palms up, hands to chest, hands to stomach." Constantine says. Finally, split hairs on the specifics. "You have to listen carefully to how people phrase words and the type of words they use. Generally speaking, if they’re using first person, singular pronouns like 'I, me, my,' they tend to be very truthful. If someone reflects, and they say 'them, those' or 'people have said that…' that’s disassociating, that’s not heartfelt."
So, when we give our speech? Well, just look for the authentic tears, the authentic smiles, the hands to the heart, and, of course, a mention of the good ole' Academy.