Wes Anderson Shares What His Oscar Acceptance Speech Would Have Been, And Why He Couldn't Deliver It

During this year's Academy Awards, at least one longstanding wrong was finally righted. Even as someone who's generally found Wes Anderson's work to be somewhat hit or miss, it's always felt like a serious oversight that the acclaimed filmmaker had yet to win a single Oscar. You're telling me the guy behind "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Moonrise Kingdom," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," and "The French Dispatch" could only muster a grand total of seven nominations over the course of 20+ years? Poppycock, I say!

Well, that ignominious streak finally ended this past Sunday. But while Anderson's long-overdue win came in the live-action short film category for "The Wonderful Life of Henry Sugar," he wasn't even in attendance to accept his award. Some viewers may have interpreted his absence as an intentional thumbing of the nose towards a voting body that hasn't exactly shown him much love over the decades (then again, seven nominations is nothing to sneeze at, either), but the real reason turns out to have been much less dramatic than that. In a statement (via Deadline), Anderson revealed:

"If I could have been there, I (along with [producer] Steven Rales) would have said thank you to: the family of Roald Dahl; the team at Netflix; Benedict [Cumberbatch] and Ralph [Fiennes] and Ben Kingsley and Dev [Patel] ... and more [of the cast and crew]. And also: If I had not met Owen Wilson in a corridor at the University of Texas between classes when I was 18 years old, I would certainly not be receiving this award tonight — but unfortunately Steven and I are in Germany and we start shooting our new movie early tomorrow morning, so I did not actually receive the award [in person] or get a chance to say any of that."

Wes' next

As far as excuses go, we have to admit that gearing up to start filming his next major project is a pretty good one. It's par for the course for Wes Anderson, who has kept himself incredibly busy in recent years. In 2023 alone, he debuted both "Asteroid City" (which was shamefully snubbed for Best Original Song considerations with that jaunty, alien-themed bop) and his series of Roald Dahl Netflix short films headlined by "The Wonderful Life of Henry Sugar."

That grind isn't slowing down anytime soon, as he's now setting his sights on production for what's reported to be a movie titled "The Phoenician Scheme." As is usually the case with Anderson, the film stars a cast of big names: the trio of Benicio Del Toro (who previously collaborated with Anderson on "The French Dispatch"), "Barbie" scene-stealer Michael Cera, and, of course, comedy legend Bill Murray. Oh, and as a fun little bonus, the script is rumored to be credited to both Anderson and his longtime co-writer Roman Coppola.

"The Phoenician Scheme" doesn't yet have an official release date, but fans can safely expect some brightly-colored sets, immaculately-framed shots, and plenty of quirks. And in my old age, I've had to admit that Anderson has found a knack for injecting quite a bit of emotion into his recent work, too. We'll be keeping an eye on updates for his latest as they come in.