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33 Days: The Enduring Myth of ‘You like me, you really like me’

January 25, 2011

[33 Days is the length of time between when Oscar nominations are announced to day of the kudocast (Feb 27). During the next, um, 33 days I will bring you a different Oscar related film, performance, script or controversy. The emphasis will not be on lengthy analysis of any entry, but a brief summarization of my thoughts on the topic.]

“You like me, you really like me” is the oft erroneous paraphrasing of Sally Field’s Best Actress acceptance speech for the 1984 film Places in the Heart. Similar to the another often misquoted iconic line, “Greed is Good” (actually Gekko said, “Greed FOR A LACK OF A BETTER WORD is good.”) the more familiar misquote obscures the meaning, intent and impact of the actual quote.

Here’s what Fields actually said in her acceptance speech:

I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me

“The first time” refers to Fields’ previous win for her performance in the 1979 film Norma Rae. Those who are a careful study of the film will remember that at one point, Rae deadpanned, “You like me.” In addition, the usually omitted, “right now” is the key to her entire speech. Like most female actors, Field is aware of her shelf life in an industry that privileges youth. Hey, is was the lady who brought us Gidget and The Flying Nun!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 10:57 am

    Wow, I never realized that my understanding of what she was saying was all uptight.

    Gidget and the Dude

  2. Kia permalink
    January 25, 2011 11:04 am

    This is the first Oscar awards show that I ever saw in its entirety so I was watching quite intently. Without the help of youtube I couldn’t recall the exact wording but always remembered the speech as meaning something more substantial than the popular riff. Thanks for substantiating that feeling!

  3. January 25, 2011 7:11 pm

    Was the dude naked.

  4. January 27, 2011 2:04 pm

    Yay, thanks for the clarification!

  5. Citizen Taqueau permalink
    January 31, 2011 1:04 pm

    Why is no one mentioning the elephant in the living room — that one of the “favorite [naked] celebrities” in that Playgirl is TOMMY CHONG? The fact that people apparently wanted to see Tommy Chong naked has totally messed up the 80s for me.

    But I have to admit, that elephant really ties the living room together.

  6. January 31, 2011 1:57 pm

    HA. CT. I am like, “Fabien? Seriously?”

  7. Citizen Taqueau permalink
    January 31, 2011 2:06 pm

    SM — I know, can we maybe get the guy who played Barney Miller?

  8. January 31, 2011 4:44 pm

  9. Citizen Taqueau permalink
    January 31, 2011 5:02 pm

    Whooof. I got nothin.

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