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On Oscar night 2008, Best Original Song winner Markéta Irglová (Once) was played off stage before she got to speak—until host Jon Stewart invited her back. Below, Irglová and Oscars director Louis J. Horvitz look back on this historical moment.
When Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová of Once took the stage to accept their Best Original Song Oscar for “Falling Slowly,” Hansard spoke first. By the time Irglová reached the microphone, she only had a few seconds to say, “Thank you very much” before the orchestra started playing.
MARKÉTA IRGLOVÁ: I felt very high. I didn’t notice that the orchestra had started playing, and that wasn’t the reason I stopped talking. I stopped talking because that was always my dynamic with Glen on stage. He was sort of the frontman. At the time I said to Glen, “You’re always really good with the words and I’ll just say thank you very much.” That’s all I wanted to say.
LOUIS J. HORVITZ, Oscars director: We go to commercial. [Executive producer] Gil Cates looked at me, and he goes, “What are we going to do? I think she had something to say. If you can handle this, I think we’ll have Jon make a joke, and then we’ll send her back out, and she’ll get a chance to do her speech.”
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The decision paid off: Irglovà gave an impromptu speech that celebrated artists and dreamers everywhere.
IRGLOVÁ: I had no idea what I [was] going to say. In that moment, I felt like it wasn’t just our moment. It was everybody’s moment. So I wanted to say something that would connect everybody in knowing that we are just one and we all have the same hopes and we long for the same things and we fear the same things. I’m very grateful they gave me that opportunity.
Watch Irglová’s speech above.