The Oscars may have been and gone and now we are able to reminisce on what has happened this year. The show was somewhat of a spectacle, but can we say some of this year’s moments are as memorable as previous Oscars shows? For comparison here are five of the most memorable Oscar moments.
Cuba Gooding Jr’s Acceptance Speech
To win an Oscar is the highest plaudit any actor can hope to receive. When you finally reach this moment you should be happy. This feeling of happiness was certainly shown by Cuba Gooding Jr in his acceptance speech for winning Best Supporting Actor for his role in Jerry Maguire at the 1997 Academy Awards. As he began his speech his feelings are obvious as he begins to thank seemingly everyone. Even as the orchestra attempted to usher him offstage he continued to charge through, turning their music into his soundtrack as he shared his love with everyone and brought the audience to their feet.
This is one moment I wasn’t actually aware of until I did some research for this article. The year was 1974, the 46th edition of the Oscars. The event was co-hosted that year by four people: John Huston, Diana Ross, Burt Reynolds and David Niven. Everything was going swimmingly until it was time to announce the winner for Best Picture. As David Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor, the presenter of the biggest award of the night, a streaker by the name of Robert Opel ran out on stage. Many hosts would struggle with this series of events but not Niven, who highlighted his quick wittedness quipped , “Isn’t it fascinating to think that the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings”. Possibly the best put down in Oscar history.
The Comedian’s Song
A musical number and the Oscars go hand in hand. Because of this I could pick from a number of different songs for this section of the list. The one that sticks out in my mind though is the one that made a very interesting point. Famously comedians receive very little love from the committee. This made it the perfect subject for a song performed brilliantly by Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly. Although together they’d grossed billions of dollars worldwide they’d only received one Oscar nomination between them, with John C. Reilly being nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Chicago (Jack Black was wrongly passed over for his role in Bernie in my opinion). The comedians had decided they’d had enough, taking no prisoners as they threatened to elbow Leonardo Di Caprio in the larynx and breaking Ryan Gosling’s hip. All in the hope of winning the greatest prize of them all; going home with an Oscar and Helen Mirren.
South Park at the Oscars
1999 was a big year for South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The release of their first major film South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut brought in millions and even received an Oscar nomination for best song with ‘Blame Canada’. To celebrate this achievement they dropped some acid and wore outfits made famous by Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow. If that wasn’t enough they saw their song sung by comedy legend Robin Williams in a raucous performance. Possibly the biggest laugh of the night was that it was beaten by the Phil Collin’s track “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Tarzan.
With the eyes of the world on you where else can you make as big a political statement as at the Oscars? This opportunity for the world’s attention was probably best capitalised on by Marlon Brando. When winning the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Godfather he chose not to collect his himself but allow Sacheen Littlefeather to have the honour of collecting the award to make a statement on the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. Originally handed a 15 page speech by Brando she was allegedly told she would be physically removed if she went over 60 seconds, resulting her actual speech being improvised. This whole incident provoked the Academy to rule out any future proxy acceptance at the Academy Awards.