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Before he took the stage this year, Kevin shared a throwback photo from that moment from 1991. Kevin wrote, "I have a lot of special memories of the Oscars, but nothing tops this night in 1991 with Dances With Wolves. Really excited to be at the @theacademy Awards presenting this weekend. Good luck to all the nominees—savor this tremendous recognition!" Thirty years later, he commanded the stage and delivered a powerful speech about what movies mean to him.
After he and his wife Christine Baumgartner made a stunning red carpet appearance, Kevin had the honor of presenting the award for Best Director to Jane Campion for Power of the Dog. He began by talking for nearly 3 minutes about what movies mean to him:
You know, about a half-mile from here, I saw my first full-length adult movie. I know what you're thinking, but I was seven years old and I was away from my parents and wanted to have some fun. It was a cowboy movie called How the West Was Won. And what I witnessed that afternoon in the Cinerama Dome was perfect. The curtain, when we still had them, opened to a film almost 4 hours long. It had an intermission where the score continued, subtly signaling at one point that the second half was about to start. I don't know where everyone went, but I wasn't going to move an inch. I decided that I would not give up my magic seat. I was determined that I would not miss a minute. And as I sat in that dark that afternoon 60 years ago, all I really knew was that I was in careful hands. Little did I know that three directors would be responsible for that epic moment in my life. They fired my imagination, and they captured my heart. That's what can happen when you direct a movie. You can change a mind. You can change the trajectory of a life, of a career. You can capture a heart. But you can't do it alone. And directors, tonight's directors all know the possibilities. They know what's at stake. It's why they give their precious time. It's why they choose to fight through the long days, and the longer nights, and the endless questions, and the inevitable second guessing that comes from those who would do it differently if given half a chance. These five directors have all managed to stay the course. They have all held the line and masterfully given us the gift of a single vision, and for that we honor them.
His heartfelt words got a big reaction from rapt viewers in the audience and on Twitter. Journalist Maria Shriver wrote, "Kevin Costner’s speech tonight was so beautiful. It was so eloquent about the power of film to change a person’s life and to influence their mind. It was so quiet while he spoke. It was powerful. #Oscars"
Comedian Patton Oswald joked: "Costner’s speech was incredible. Believe me it’s all anyone’s gonna be talking about tomorrow."
Robert Liefeld wrote, "Kevin Costner is an American Treasure. What a speech."
One viewer on Twitter wrote: "Hmm. I think Kevin Costner’s speech about filmmaking and directing was one of the most beautiful moments of the evening and exactly what the Oscars should be about."
Another said, "Kevin Costner gave a masterclass on how to deliver a speech, show class and hold attention at the Oscars last night."
Kevin commands our attention, whether he's portraying John Dutton or giving a speech at an awards show. We can't wait to see what's next for the Yellowstone star.
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