There have been countless incredible actors who have never brought home an Oscar. So, by no means does winning one solidify you as one of the “greatest of all time”… But, let’s face it… it doesn’t hurt.
So, by that standard, we’re thrilled and delighted that the late-great Robin Williams took home one of these golden statues before he passed. After all, he’s one of the most beloved thespians of his generation.
If you don’t remember, Robin won an Academy Award in 1998 for his work in Good Will Hunting. He was previously nominated for Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, and The Fisher King. But it was Gus Van Sant’s touching drama that earned him the honor.
Generally, news outlets adored Robin’s acceptance speech… But he has one major regret surrounding it.
Robin Came Clean On The Graham Norton Show
While stars tend to divulge their biggest secrets on The Howard Stern Show, Britain’s Graham Norton Show can be a typical place for celebrities to reveal things they wouldn’t otherwise… Probably because Graham feeds them booze.
A couple of years before Robin passed, he went on The Graham Norton Show and revealed some interesting regrets about his life and his Oscar win.
Of course, Robin revealed them with all of the humor as you might expect, much to the delight of his fellow guests Elijah Woods (Lord of the Rings) and comic genius Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous).
Graham asked Robin if the Academy Award win changed his life, to which Robin replied:
“For like a week it was like, ‘Hey! Congratulations. Way to go. Good Will Hunting. Way to go!’ Two weeks later, ‘Hey, Mork!’ I was back being that again.”
Of course, Robin was referring to the role that made him famous in Mork & Mindy.
Robin then went on to explain his biggest regret around his Academy Award acceptance speech.
“The moment they say your name, when you win, English becomes a second language. And I forgot to thank my mother… and she was in the audience… Even the therapist went ‘GET OUT!’ So that… so that was rough for the next few years. [imitating his passive-aggressive mother] ‘Well, how’s the award?’…”
There’s no doubt that Robin knows he made a mistake. But, as he said, everything goes out the window when they call your name.
Robin’s Speech Was Still Utterly Touching
When Robin beat out a number of Hollywood heavy-weights (including Burt Reynolds, who did not look pleased), he seemed genuinely touched.
“Oh, man. This might be the one time I’m speechless”, he said to the cheering crowd.
Robin graciously took to the stage and thanked a number of people, including the men he was up against. As always, he conducted himself with a true, authentic class.
Although Robin appeared almost out of breath and stumbled a few times, he still managed to land a couple of good jokes. But he spent most of his time thanking his wife Marcia and his late father…
“And most of all I want to thank my father up there, the man who when I said I wanted to be an actor he said wonderful, just have a backup profession, like welding.”
But nope… nothing about his dear old mom…
At least Robin remembered to thank his mother when he was honored with the Cecile B. Demille award at The Golden Globes in 2005.
Robin’s Other Oscar Experiences
After Robin Williams shared his biggest Oscar regret, he went into more detail about his experiences at the Oscars. It was spurred on by Graham asking Elijah Wood about his time at the Oscars when Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won every award it was nominated for including Best Picture. It was around this time when Elijah ran into Jack Nicholson who claimed he got so frustrated with the movie because it had “so many endings”.
This is when Robin shared his own Jack Nicholson Oscar story:
“When I won my Academy Award, he was there. He won. This was his third Academy Award. And we were standing backstage because they were just about to take you to the press conference and he goes ‘You know, Robbo, now I have an award for every decade’…”
The fact that Robin can make fun of these moments is one of the reasons why we love him so much. While his personal life was filled with complications and struggles that we couldn’t possibly comprehend, he brought joy to so many people. In fact, there are countless behind-the-scenes stories from his movies that make us adore this man even more.
It’s been a long time since he left us… and it still hurts.
But at least he gets to profusely thank his mother wherever they are.