Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Memorable Moments of Oscars Past

Whether you want to celebrate the last two months years success in film, judge the Hollywood elite's fashion choices or disagree with the choices - the Oscars are the biggest film event of the year. So it is not surprising that it has had its fair share of memorable moments. I bring you the most memorable social faux pas, celebrity spats, tearjerking moments and inspiring guests. 

1953: The Show Is Televised - 
The ceremony was televised for the first time in 1953 - making this list possible. It is how became the all-encompassing hoopla it is today; before that it was just a nice party for the Hollywood elite to get drunk and applaud each other’s successes.

1972: Chaplin's Triumphant Return - 
After twenty years in exile, Charlie Chaplin returned to America to longest ovation in Oscar history, lasting over five minutes. Although he had already won two Oscars, this honorary award in 1972 was the one that really mattered.

1995: "Awww Shit" - 
Samuel L Jackson forgot the generally accepted reaction of grin-and-applause when he lost out on the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Pulp Fiction, and instead favoured the less gracious, “Awww, shit”.

2007: Martin Scorsese Wins At Last - 
There is a surprisingly long list of Hollywood’s greatest that have yet to or took too long to finally receive an Oscar. At the top of this list is Martin Scorsese who was nominated in the directing category a whopping five times before finally winning his sixth nomination for The Departed. When Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola arrived on stage to present the award, it seemed surely inevitable, and when his name was finally read out, the resultant picture of four of the greatest directors of modern cinema on stage together is one for the ages.

1974: The Streaker - 
This moment should really be called David Niven, because although Robert Opel streaking across the stage was memorable for sure, it was Niven’s legendary recovery that really made this moment: “Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was bound to happen. But isn’t it fascinating to think that the only laugh that man will probably ever get in his life was when he stripped off to show his shortcomings.”

1968: It's A Tie - 
“It’s a tie!” Ingrid Bergman exclaimed upon opening the Best Actress envelope. The award went to both Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Streisand who received 3,030 votes each, the first exact tie in a principal Oscar category.

1939: Walt Disney And The Seven Miniature Statuettes - 
Walt Disney was the recipient of many competitive Oscars, as well as three honorary prizes, one of which was for creating Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length animation, which came with seven miniature statuettes.
1978: Redgrave Booed
Vanessa Redgrave misjudged her audience during her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in 1978. The actress was being picketed outside by the Jewish Defence League for her support of Palestine, and referred to them as “Zionist hoodlums,” drawing a loud chorus of boos.

1996: Superman Returns - 
Straight from boos to cheers - following his paralysing horse riding accident, Christopher Reeve was wheeled onstage to deliver a speech about social responsibility. The crowd were brought to their feet and tears were brought to their eyes.

1963: Public Bitching - 
As long as there have been celebrities, there have been celebrity feuds: Britney/Christina, Jordan/Jodie Marsh. But the best bitchy moment has to go to Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. When Davis was nominated for an Oscar for Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? and Crawford was not, she wrote to all the nominees offering to accept their award if they couldn’t attend. So when Anne Bancroft was announced as winner, but was on Broadway at the time, it was Crawford who took to the stage under Davis’ furious glare.

1984: "Amadeus" -
So overcome by the standing ovation that greeted him, Laurence Olivier failed to follow the usual etiquette of presenters and, instead of reading out any of the nominees, simply opened the envelope and declared the winner, Amadeus!”

1994: Tom Hanks Outs His Teacher - 
During an emotional acceptance speech for Hanks' first Best Actor Oscar for Philadelphia, he thanked his high school drama teacher, Rawley Farnsworth, calling him one of "the finest gay Americans." Only problem was, nobody knew he was gay. Oops. The incident eventually became the inspiration for the movie In & Out.

1976: Ali vs. Rocky -   
As Sylvester Stallone, aka Rocky Balboa, prepared to present an award, Muhammad Ali snuck up behind him, joining the greatest boxers of the movie world and the real world together on stage. The two got into a mock tussle, which of course Ali won, and then all the men sneaked out the room to change their pants.

Just Jack - 
The Oscars just don't feel complete without Jack Nicholson sat proudly on the front row sporting sunglasses and a sly smirk.

2003: The Kiss - 
As a rank outsider for the Best Actor statue, Adrien Brody made the most of his surprising win by grabbing presenter Halle Berry and locking her in a snog. Apparently the Oscar statue wasn’t enough for him.

1934: A Lil' Oscar For Lil' Shirley - 
Most of those fortunate enough to receive an honorary award from Oscar are at the end of their careers and often their lives. Shirley Temple on the other hand was given an Honorary Juvenile Award when she was six – “in grateful recognition for her contribution to screen entertainment.” Where do you go from there?

2002: Woody Turns Out For New York - 
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, many wondered whether the awards would go ahead as planned. The Academy paid tribute in the best way it could and Woody Allen made his first ever appearance at the Oscars to present a film dedicated to the city he loves.

2006: "I do all my own stunts" - 
Possibly the worst time to fall over is on stage at the Oscars, and Jennifer Garner did just that at the 2006 awards. But you have to love her for her recovery; instead of weeping or even blushing she just laughed and said. “I do all my own stunts.” I applaud you Garner!

1933: And The Winner Is Frank - 
The most cringeworthy moment in Oscar history came when, hearing the name Frank, Frank Capra rose to collect the prize and it was only when he was halfway to the stage that he realised the winner was actually Frank Lloyd.

1976: I Want To Thank My Mom And Dad - 
Thanking your mum and dad is the biggest clich√© in any Oscar speech, but Louise Fletcher had everybody reaching for their hankies when she thanked her profoundly deaf parents using sign language as she accepted Best Actress for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

1967: Hitchcock Honored - 
Surprisingly, Hitchcock never won a competitive Oscar. So after six nominations and no wins, the honorary Irving G. Thalberg award was the least the Academy could bestow upon one of cinema’s greatest directors in cinema history. They certainly didn’t need to play him offstage as his entire speech amounted to a simple, “Thank you.”

2002: This Moment's So Much Bigger Than Me - 
Making her second appearance in the list, who can forget Halle Berry blubbering onstage as she makes her mark in cinema history, becoming the first black woman to win the Best Actress Award. Hattie McDaniel was the first black person to be nominated and to win an Oscar in 1939 and Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win an Oscar for a leading role, but Berry makes the list for her tearful speech, proclaiming the moment is, “so much bigger than me.” A long way to go from The Flintstones.

1962: Party Crasher - 
These days he would probably be shot but at the 34th ceremony cab driver Stan Berman (three seats from JFK's right, your left) took things into his own hands and grate-crashed the awards to hand Shelley Winters a homemade award for Bob Hope.

1958: The Show Under Runs - 
One thing the Oscars are famous for is overrunning. But in 1958, the unthinkable happened and the telecast actually ran short, forcing host Jerry Lewis to fill for twenty minutes. What a pro. I bet they regretted playing people offstage that year.

1998: The Oscar All-Stars - 
In honour of the 70th ceremony, the curtains were drawn back to reveal a huge crowd of past winners, gathered together on-stage. The aged talent of Hollywood past was impressive to see on one stage and applauded by Hollywood’s future.

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