Watch Woody Allen's Classic Oscars Stand-Up Routine

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 24 2012 3:51 PM

Woody Allen at the Oscars

Woody Allen at the 74th Academy Awards.

Midnight in Paris is up for four Oscars this year, two of those for Woody Allen personally (best directing and best original screenplay). Still, everyone—well, almost everyone—assumes he won’t be at the ceremony; he didn’t even show in 1978, when Annie Hall was up for five awards and ended up winning four of them.

Which is too bad, because Woody Allen remains a charming stage presence—as he demonstrated the one time he went to the Oscars, in 2002. In fact, he did more than charm: He proved that, if he wanted to, he could still be a terrific stand-up, more than 40 years after his last comedy album. Allen only attended the 2002 ceremony because, six months after 9/11, the academy wanted to honor New York, and, as Allen says in the video from the ceremony below, “I’ll do anything for New York.” His bit is followed by a montage of New York City in the movies, directed by another New York filmmaker, Nora Ephron (worth sticking around for; it picks up after J.J. Hunsecker says, “I love this dirty town,” and the soundtrack jumps to “Stayin’ Alive”).

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.


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