"After reflecting on the win's significance, they typically thank their peers, colleagues and sometimes even their lawyer before mentioning family," Rolfe said.
Though "I'd like to thank the Academy" is a stereotypical speech start-off, only 40 percent of winners have uttered those words.
Turning on the tears Actresses cry about twice as often as actors, with 12 of the last 15 best actresses turning on the waterworks, Rolfe found. It's not clear why tears are becoming more common, but Rolfe speculates social pressure on celebrities might contribute.
"Much like the movies, acceptance speeches are a type of performance," she said. "I believe the tears are real, but perhaps, maybe even subconsciously, actresses know what is expected of them when they accept the honor."
The only director ever to cry during a speech was Steven Spielberg, accepting an Oscar for "Schindler's List" in 1993.
Rolfe has created an interactive website where you can write your own speech and compare it with Oscar winners past. The ultimate goal, she said, is to understand public gratitude.