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Oscar chiefs spare us speech torture

Academy Award organisers have come up with a novel idea for avoiding those boring Oscar acceptance speeches filled with "thank-yous." Their solution: have the winners give two speeches.

Contenders for the world's top film honours including George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges gathered yesterday for the annual Oscar nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills, and as is tradition, the show's producers offered tips on giving the 45-second acceptance speeches.

Typically, that advice is to keep them short and avoid a long list of "thank-yous" to agents, directors, spouses and family. Oscar co-producer Bill Mechanic called those often teary-eyed thanks "the single most-hated thing on the show".

Instead, winners will give two speeches: one onstage telling audiences what winning an Oscar means to them, and a second backstage for a 'Thank-You Cam' where winners can say 'Thanks' to whomever they want.

He said the backstage video would be posted on the Web and winners could use them however they liked.