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Adam Sandler gave the year’s best Oscar speech — just not at the Oscars

Watch the Uncut Gems star win big at the Indie Spirit Awards

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

People love Adam Sandler. Netflix users alone have supposedly watched 2 billion hours worth of Sandler Content since he struck up a deal with the streaming platform. He carried his latest film, the relentless, comedic thriller Uncut Gems, to record heights; it’s now A24’s biggest release to date. The man is a genuine movie star.

And as a genuine movie star, he’s quite good at giving genuine movie star speeches.

The Academy Awards completely snubbed Uncut Gems — from Sandler’s lead performance to the brains behind the film, the Safdie brothers — leading most of us Gemmers (working title) to throw our hands up in revolt. “Uncut Gems is one of the best movies of 2019! How could this be!”

The 2020 Independent Spirit Awards, which honors the best of the year’s independently produced films, heard the call. Not only did Sandler score an Actor nomination alongside Chris Galust (Give Me Liberty), Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Luce), Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse), Matthias Schoenaerts (The Mustang), on Saturday night, he also won the damn thing.

Taking the stage, Sandler looked humbled to be there. Then he gave a damn fine speech poking fun at his critical history, his Netflix deal, and the idea of “Adam Sandler” winning any kind of award. It’s exactly what any movie-lover wants out of an Oscar speech, but rarely gets at the actual Oscars.

You can watch the full speech in the video above, and a transcript below.

Hey, thank you so much, man, that’s really cool. Thank you, I love you guys, thank you. I’ll try to go quick, my speech is too long so I’ll try to breeze through it. And, I love you — just in case they cut me off — I love you to my wife and my kids and my family and I love you. Okay, I wrote a speech, here we go, real quick:

Hello, my name is Adam Sandler. Thank you. I stand before you trembling with thankful glee as I receive this this so-called best actor trophy, independently speaking, of course. First off, it’s great to see our host Aubrey Plaza again. Aubrey and I did a movie entitled Funny People 11 years ago. That was actually the last time critics pretended not to hate me for five fucking minutes. Catch you in another 11 years, Aubrey!

I’d like to also give a shout out to my fellow nominees, who will now and forever be known as “the guys who lost to fucking Adam Sandler.” How did that happen? Independent movie? Adam Sandler? “To get my movie I had to live in my car outside of fucking Ralphs, begging for nickels on fucking kickstarter, and all Sandler had to do was get Ted Sarandos stoned.”

A few weeks back, when I was quote-unquote snubbed by the Academy, it reminded of when I briefly attended high school and was overlooked for the coveted yearbook superlative category Best Looking. That accolade was given to a jean-jacket-wearing featherhead douchebag by the name of Skipper Jenkins. But my classmates did honor me with the allegedly less-prestigious designation of Best Personality. And tonight, as I look around this room, I realize, the Independent Spirit Awards are the Best Personality awards of Hollywood. So let all those featherhead douchebag motherfuckers get their Oscars tomorrow night! Their handsome good looks will fade in time, while our independent personalities will shine on forever!

I’ve got more, I’m sorry, I’ve gotta cruise through this. But in all seriousness, independent films have been a big part of the Adam Sandler ecosystem. From my first film, a fearless look into the American education system through the eyes of a privileged sociopath by the name of Billy Fucking Madison to my searing exploration of American college foosball and its manipulation of socially-challenged athletes like Mister Bobby Boucher, I have tried to sell my truths with a truly independent spirit, while also cashing some truly disturbingly large paychecks.

But tonight is about Uncut Gems. I want to thank some people. First off, of course, the person who shares my life, my home, my laughter, my tears: Scott Rudin. Two years ago, Scott said the words that would forever change my life: “No, those aren’t homeless rabbis, those are the Safdie brothers.” No, honestly, I do want to say thank you to the Safdie brothers for believing in me and thinking of me for this part, and I really had the best time getting to know you guys, I love you guys and I’m glad we’re tight now. I also want to say thank you to anybody who ever worked on any of the comedies I did over the years. You guys, I love you, and I’m glad we did all that work together that the Safdies and Noah and everybody liked our stuff enough to put me in their stuff.

And I truly want to thank my kids for reading Uncut Gems and saying, “Dad, you’ve gotta fucking do this movie. Fantastic stuff.” And my wife, I love you — thanks for running lines with me and thanks for hanging out with me, and we really had some fun on this one, so I love you. And thanks everybody for — it’s a great night, I appreciate it.

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