Washington, Feb uary 20: Leading actresses are almost twice as likely to cry than leading actors while accepting Academy Awards, a Georgia Tech master's student has found.
However, crying is a recent trend, according to Georgia Tech student Rebecca Rolfe, who analyzed 60 years of Academy Awards acceptance speeches as part of a research project that focused on gratitude.
Seventy one percent of tears have been shed since 1995, including 12 of the last 15 best actresses. Rolfe can only guess why.
"Much like the movies, acceptance speeches are a type of performance. I believe the tears are real, but perhaps, maybe even subconsciously, actresses know what is expected of them when they accept the honor. Maybe the public has come to expect an emotional speech, so actresses are more emotional than they would be otherwise," she said.
Only one director has ever choked up: Steven Spielberg for "Schindler's List" at the 1993 ceremony.
Rolfe watched more than 200 speeches from 1953, the first year the awards ceremony was televised, to 2012, and has outlined the trends and patterns on an interactive website. She has also determined the anatomy of an Academy Awards speech, or at least the one that winners tend to give.
While every speech is unique, Rolfe noticed a certain pattern that is used by winners.
"Winners tend to start their speeches broadly by thanking the Academy or fellow nominees, then gradually make it more personal. After reflecting on the win's significance, they typically thank their peers, colleagues and sometimes even their lawyer before mentioning family," Rolfe said.
Nearly every speech (79 percent) closes with some version of "thank you."
I'd like to thank the Academy... is one of the most famous phrases in Oscar history, but less than half of the winners (40 percent) actually say it.
Among the other findings: you might see a man hoist Oscar into the air with one hand (26 percent), while nearly 60 percent of winning actresses cradle the statue with both hands, like a baby.
Almost half of winners thank their family. Only 5 percent (11 total mentions) thank God, who loses out to Hollywood power player Harvey Weinstein. The co-founder of Miramax has been thanked the most times (12) in Oscar history.
Speeches have become considerably longer over the years. In the 1960s, a typical speech was about 40 seconds long. Now it averages nearly two minutes, although the orchestra has only cut off nine winners in these prestigious categories.
The research project was funded by the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship Program, which is overseen by the Online News Association. (ANI)