Our Favorite Oscar Moments!

For decades, the Academy Awards telecast has provided memorable and exciting moments and were listing out some of our favorites!

After a paired down ceremony at Union Station last April, the Oscars are making their grand return to the Dolby Theater on March 27th! Promising a return to Oscar ceremonies of yore, this year there will be 3 hosts, Amy Schumer, Regina Hall, and Wanda Sykes. In addition, the ceremony will include controversial moves to keep the show length tight even if it means cutting which categories get airtime. So, before the ceremony kicks off, here are some of our most memorable moments from previous ceremonies.

Billy Crystal Opening Songs

Billy Crystal is one of the most prolific Oscar hosts, having hosted 9 times in the 90’s through 2012. For his main run of Oscars hosting, he would start with a grand entrance tied to a nominated film from that year. One year, he even entered as Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs. Crystal would do a set about the nominated movies and actors. And then every year, including in 2012, when he swore that he wouldn’t do it due to budget cuts, he would launch into a series of song parodies covering the Best Picture nominees. These parodies would be taking classical songs and reworking them to fit the films. They were a wonderful way to start the ceremony and can be easily found online.

Steve Martin Dry Wit

Steve Martin has also hosted several times and while the very start of his intro may be theatrical, the rest wasn’t. It was a lot of deadpan, dry wit, admittedly some of it not aging very well. But the style was a successful blend of poking fun at the industry and the people in it and making jokes that the room found funny. A highlight is the names bit.

The Streaker

An Oscars ceremony is normally very traditional. An opening, awards are given out and the films are honored culminating in Best Picture. However, one year, a streaker decided to crash the show and run nude across the stage. David Niven’s response was classic – “Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen… But isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”

Jack Palance One Arm Pushup

Another from the Oscar history books. Screen legend Jack Palance won the Oscar in 1992 for supporting actor for Cityslickers. In line with his character and career, as well as to to show off his fitness at 73, Palance did a one arm pushup as part of his victory speech. A moment that is still one of the most memorable ways to accept an Oscar.

La La Land and Moonlight

The fiasco that has quickly passed into myth was when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented Best Picture. Faye looks at the envelope and seems to hesitate to pass it off to Warren. Warren looks and announces that La La Land has won best picture. La La Land’s producers begin to accept but something is going on behind them. Moments later, lead producer Jordan Horowitz announces that Moonlight has won best picture. Chaos all due to PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountants being transfixed by the stars. Even if you watched it live, it’s worth it to see again.

Historic Wins

The Oscars are not just about the celebration and jokes however; an Oscar also signifies something for a filmmaker or an actor. It can inspire the generations to come or break a long-held barrier. Sidney Poiter winning for Lilies of The Field in 1963, Hattie McDaniel winning for Gone with the Wind. Halle Berry for Monster’s Ball. Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. These wins broke barriers and the opportunity still exists to continue to break barriers to this day.


Sally Field

A very exciting win at the Oscars was Sally Field’s win in 1985. While it has become a punchline and source of parody, the speech itself is sweet as Sally Field feels recognized for her work and her career so far- “I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it. And I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!”

Roberto Benigni Accepts for Life is Beautiful

He might have been the most excited a winner has ever been, Roberto Benigni accepting for Best International Film for Italy for his film Life is Beautiful in 1999 presented by Sophia Loren. He jumps out of his seat and proceeds to climb on the armrests to face a cheering theater and then literally jumps to the stage from the aisles rushing to Loren. A worthwhile clip to boost your mood.

Ledger’s Win

Occasionally, an actor passes before their work is seen by the public and they are unable to accept their Oscar. In 1977, Peter Finch won the Oscar for Network posthumously and the award was accepted by his wife. Heath Ledger tragically passed before the release of 2008’s The Dark Knight but the film became a juggernaut and he was poised to win. As predicted, Heath Ledger won and his family emotionally accepted.

The Academy Awards air on March 27th at 5pm PT on ABC. Watch and see if a new moment is born!

About the Author

Jonathan Moore

Jonathan Moore is a senior Business of Creative Enterprises major at Emerson College based in Boston,MA. He loves all forms of entertainment whether film, television or on the stage. He is currently studying at Emerson's Los Angeles campus.