“Do not wing this,” Jon Favreau, a member of the College of the Holy Cross class of 2003, warned this year’s Oscar nominees in an article for The Hollywood Reporter. Former speech writer for President Obama, Favreau offered some tips for the nominees on how to make the most of their acceptance speeches.
“Prepare it yourself,” he says, warning nominees not to “outsource” their speeches to a publicist. “Take one hour to jot down a few thoughts about what this honor would mean to you and focus on the one message you want the world to hear.”
Serving as the White House director of speechwriting from 2009-2013, Favreau certainly had some insight into just what it takes to write a message the world will hear. “Waste no words. Tell a story. The best speeches are built on a narrative arch, not a collection of snappy lines.”
For those nominees worried about being caught up in the emotion of the moment, Favreau offered this advice: “Be you. If only because it’s so much easier than trying to guess who the rest of us think you should be. Everyone’s a critic. Whatever you decide to say, know that the audience is rooting for you to succeed.”
Favreau co-founded Fenway Strategies, a communications and speechwriting firm, following his time in the White House. Returning to Holy Cross in 2014 to give the commencement address, he was awarded a Doctor of Public Service honorary degree.
This “Holy Cross in the News” is by Emma Collins ’16.
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