From Snubs to Speeches: Memorable Moments in Oscar History

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From Snubs to Speeches: Memorable Moments in Oscar History

The Academy Awards (or Oscars) are an annual celebration of the best movies of the previous year, and over the years some incredible, iconic moments have been seen. From celebrity embarrassing awards show blunders, to heartfelt acceptance speeches, the Oscars have seen some truly unforgettable moments. Here’s a look at some memorable happenings from the world’s most prestigious movie awards.

The Biggest Oscar Snubs

One of the factors that has kept the Academy Awards in the news since its inception is the number of notable omissions, or “Oscar snubs”. Whenever a critically acclaimed, hugely popular movie like The Shawshank Redemption or The Dark Knight is denied the Best Film award, there’s bound to be disappointment. Here are some of the biggest Oscar snubs in history:

  1. The Shawshank Redemption in 1994: Many fans of the classic Stephen King movie have called it the most unjust snub of all time.
  2. The Dark Knight in 2008: It was the highest-grossing film nominated for Best Picture that year. It was a fan favorite, and was nominated for 8 other Oscar awards.
  3. Saving Private Ryan in 1998: Nominated for eleven awards in total, including Best Picture, it won five Oscars. Both Titanic and Shakespeare in Love eventually took Best Picture, leaving fans shocked at the snub.
  4. Casablanca in 1943: Despite its classic status, this movie was only nominated in three categories. It won two, but none of the Big Five.

Unforgettable Oscar Speeches

Oscar acceptance speeches tend to be a mix of poise, humor, and just the right amount of emotion. Whether a speech is classic and predictable, or off-the-cuff, these are some of the most memorable.

  1. Matthew McConaughey, 2014: McConaughey accepted his award for Best Actor in Dallas Buyers Club with a heartfelt speech, prompting a standing ovation from the audience.
  2. Martin Scorsese, 2007: After a lengthy and successful career, Martin Scorsese finally won his first Best Director Oscar for his film The Departed in 2007. He thanked the Academy members for “allowing me into the forest.”
  3. Lupita Nyong’o, 2014: Nyong’o accepted the Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in 12 Years a Slave with a beautiful, emotional speech.
  4. Jared Leto, 2014: Leto gave a classic and moving acceptance speech after he won his Best Supporting Actor Oscar, thanking his mother and detailing how movie-making is a collaborative effort.

Political Statements

The Oscars have been a platform for political statements since its beginning, and some of these moments leave a lasting impression on viewers. Here are a few noteworthy examples.

  1. Marlon Brando, 1973: The Godfather star refused his Best Actor award to protest Hollywood’s depiction of Native Americans in movies.
  2. Michael Moore, 2003: When Moore accepted his award for Best Documentary (Bowling for Columbine), he made a politically charged speech about the war in Iraq.
  3. Helen Mirren, 2007: When accepting her award as Best Actress for The Queen, Mirren gave a gracious and endearing acceptance speech thanking Queen Elizabeth of England.
  4. Patricia Arquette, 2015: After Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Boyhood, she made a speech about wage equality in which she cried “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s rights. It’s time to have wage equality once and for all.”

Epic Fails

Everyone makes mistakes, and a highly public ceremony like the Oscars is bound to have some rather embarrassing moments. Here are a few of the most memorable fails.

  1. John Travolta’s Idina Menzel fail, 2014: It’s one of the most infamous blunders ever seen on television. Instead of correctly pronouncing Idina Menzel’s name correctly (“Adele Dazeem”), he seriously mangled it and introduced her as “the wickedly talented, one and only, Adele Dazim.”
  2. Warren Beatty’s envelope fail, 2017: When Beatty and Fay Dunaway erroneously announced La La Land as the Best Picture winner instead of the actual winner, Moonlight, it was an awkward and confusing moment. The entire audience was in shock for several minutes as the situation was sorted out.
  3. Adrien Brody’s kiss, 2003: When Brody, 29 at the time, won for Best Actor for his performance in The Pianist, he got up on stage, gave Halle Berry a full, passionate kiss on the lips.
  4. Steve Martin’s selfie fail, 2016: During the 2016 broadcast, host Steve Martin joked about taking a group selfie with Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, but she seemed on the verge of tears as she scuttled away instead.

The Oscars have changed a great deal since its inception, but it still has the power to surprise and entertain. No one can be sure what the next big moment will be; unwritten and unpredictable, all we know for sure is that no matter what happens, it’s bound to be memorable.

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