Legendary director Jonathan Demme has died at the age of 73.
Demme was best known for the film The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director in 1992. Upon receiving the award, Demme delivered a lengthy acceptance speech which fans are now revisiting in light of today’s tragic loss.
At the 1992 Oscars, the other nominees for Best Director were John Singleton for Boyz n the Hood, Barry Levinson for Bugsy, Oliver Stone for JFK, and Ridley Scott for Thelma & Louise.
Upon taking the stage, Demme said that the win was unanticipated, and he said that the only way that he can make sense of this is to say that he was lucky enough to work with very talented people on the movie.
The Silence of the Lambs was released by Orion Pictures, a studio which at the time was in serious financial trouble; in fact, Billy Crystal had joked during his opening monologue that they were a “studio in a coma.”
Demme, then, spent part of his speech thanking Orion for believing in him and touching upon the difficulty that they were going through.
“I know everybody feels the extraordinary irony of what’s happened, this terrible thing that’s happened to Orion, at a moment of reemergence that included Silence of the Lambs and many other things,” he said.
Of course, Demme thanked Jodi Foster, the star of the movie, as well as Hal Ashby and Martin Ritt, two directors who he said inspired him.
Demme concluded by giving a shout out to his mother, saying that she instilled in him a love for film.
“I’ve obviously gotta say, ‘Hi, Mom, and thanks for transferring your love of movies to me, and thanks Dad for making me think that I could actually be part of this industry,'” he said.
This win would have been legitimately unanticipated for Jonathan Demme, as he had lost at the Golden Globes that year; at the 1992 Golden Globe Awards, Oliver Stone had won for JFK, and Bugsy won for Best Drama.
Demme was never again nominated for an Academy Award or Golden Globe, although he later directed the film Philadelphia, which earned Tom Hanks the Academy Award for Best Actor.