So Will Smith slapping Chris Rock’s fiasco wasn’t the first or only memorable moment from the Oscars. Here are some other spectacularly memorable Oscar moments over the years.
As the 2023 Oscars come to an end, we can’t help but think about the ceremonies from the past. Over the years, the ceremony has had its fair share of memorable moments that have left audiences talking for years. From heartfelt acceptance speeches to cringe-worthy moments, let’s look at some of history’s most memorable Oscar moments.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s Red Carpet Stunt (2012)
Sacha Baron Cohen, the actor behind the iconic character Borat, always knows how to make a scene. During the 2012 Oscars, he arrived on the red carpet dressed as his character from The Dictator and carried an urn that he claimed contained the ashes of the late North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il. Security quickly swooped in and tried to stop Cohen from pouring the ashes onto the carpet, but luckily the stunt was just a joke. Without a doubt, one of the craziest memorable Oscar moments only Cohen can provide.
Jennifer Lawrence’s Fall (2013)
Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook at the 2013 Oscars, but her fall on the stairs on her way to accept the award became the most talked-about moment of the night. Lawrence took the fall in stride, quickly got up, and joked about it in her acceptance speech.
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Marlon Brando’s Refusal to Accept the Award (1973)
We may be mostly talking about memorable Oscar moments that are lighthearted and fun but let us also include some meaningful ones as well. In 1973, Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his role in The Godfather. However, instead of accepting the award, he sent Native American activist and actor Sacheen Littlefeather in his place. Littlefeather delivered a speech on Brando‘s behalf, in which he declined the award and spoke out against the treatment of Native Americans in the film industry.
Ellen DeGeneres’ Selfie (2014)
Ellen DeGeneres was the host of the 2014 Oscars, and she decided to make history by taking a selfie with some of the biggest stars in the audience. The photo included Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and Meryl Streep, among others, and quickly became the most retweeted photo in history. Memorable Oscar moments that become memorable Twitter moments, for sure!
Jack Palance’s One-Armed Push-Ups (1992)
Jack Palance won Best Supporting Actor for his role in City Slickers in 1992, and during his acceptance speech, he decided to show off his strength by doing one-armed push-ups on stage. The moment was unexpected and hilarious, and Palance became a fan favorite.
Bjork’s Swan Dress (2001)
Icelandic singer Bjork turned heads at the 2001 Oscars when she arrived on the red carpet wearing a dress that looked like a swan. The dress was designed by Marjan Pejoski and quickly became one of the most talked-about moments of the night.
Adrien Brody’s Kiss (2003)
Adrien Brody won Best Actor for his role in The Pianist in 2003, and during his acceptance speech, he decided to go off-script and kiss presenter Halle Berry on stage. The moment was unexpected and very uncomfortable to watch.
Roberto Benigni’s Jump (1999)
Roberto Benigni won Best Actor for his role in Life is Beautiful in 1999, and when his name was announced, he leaped out of his seat and jumped onto the backs of the chairs in front of him to get to the stage. His energy and enthusiasm were infectious, and he became one of the most beloved winners in Oscar history.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway’s Hosting Disaster (2011)
The 2011 Oscars were hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, and unfortunately, their performance was widely panned by critics and viewers alike. Franco appeared disinterested, and Hathaway was over-the-top and trying too hard. The duo’s awkward chemistry made for uncomfortable viewing, and the show has been regarded as a disaster ever since. These are the kind of memorable Oscar moments the Academy wishes to forget.
Lady Gaga’s “Sound of Music” Tribute (2015)
Lady Gaga was asked to perform a tribute to The Sound of Music at the 2015 Oscars, and she blew the audience away with her stunning rendition of the classic songs. Her performance was so moving that it brought tears to the eyes of Julie Andrews, who starred in the original movie.
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A mistake at the Oscars: La La Land (2017)
It was the biggest mistake in Academy Awards history when the presenters for Best Picture, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, announced that La La Land had won the award when Moonlight was the actual winner.
The mistake happened due to an error in handling the envelopes, with the duplicate envelope for Best Actress being given to Beatty instead of the Best Picture envelope. As a result, Beatty was confused when he opened the envelope and saw the name “Emma Stone – La La Land” on the card.
As the La La Land cast and crew were making their acceptance speeches, it was revealed on stage that Moonlight was the actual winner, leading to confusion and disbelief among the audience and the La La Land team. The mistake was eventually corrected, and the Moonlight team was called to the stage to accept their award.
The incident became one of history’s most talked-about and memorable Oscar moments and has been the subject of many jokes and parodies since then.
Marisa Tomei Wins Best Supporting Actress (1993)
Marisa Tomei won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in My Cousin Vinny. Her win was a surprise to many, as she was up against some heavyweight actresses, including Joan Plowright and Vanessa Redgrave. Rumors circulated that presenter Jack Palance had read the wrong name on the card, but the Academy later confirmed that Tomei was indeed the rightful winner. The moment became a legendary Oscar moment and is still discussed today.
Olivia Colman’s Emotional Speech (2019)
Olivia Colman won the Best Actress award for her role in The Favourite. In her emotional acceptance speech, she thanked her co-stars and director and even apologized to Glenn Close, who was also nominated in the same category. She ended her speech with a heartfelt tribute to her children, saying, “This is not going to happen again.” Her speech was praised for its sincerity and humor.
“You Complete Me” – Cuba Gooding Jr. (1997)
Ending with one that tops the list of memorable Oscar moments from the 69th Academy Awards is Cuba Gooding Jr., winning Best Supporting Actor for his role in Jerry Maguire. During his acceptance speech, he expressed his gratitude to the cast and crew of the film, as well as his family and fans. But what made his speech truly memorable was when he exclaimed “I love you” repeatedly to everyone who helped him achieve the award. He then went on to say the famous line “You complete me” to the tune of laughter and applause from the audience.
Well, folks, that’s a wrap on our journey down the history of memorable Oscar moments! We’ve seen some truly unforgettable moments, from JLaw’s graceful stumble to the infamous La La Land/Moonlight mix-up.
But one thing’s for sure – whether our favorite films and actors take home the golden statue, we’ll still be popping the popcorn and tuning in every year, ready for whatever surprises the Academy has.
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