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Remembering the best Oscars moments ever

With the Oscars 2024 upon us, we take a look at the history of the Oscars and remember the best moments from the prestigious awards ceremony

Will Smith collecting his Oscar at the 94th Academy Awards

The 96th Academy Awards are upon us. The Oscars is still undoubtedly the biggest night in the movie industry calendar, and it regularly provides us with shocking snubs, embarrassing moments, and inspiring speeches surrounding the best movies of the year.

Sadly, it seems the Oscars are becoming less and less relevant these days. And, every attempt the Academy takes to improve the situation just seems to make things worse. Look at the Oscars Fan Favourite Award introduced last year, which became a social media joke. Or the decision to cut a bunch of the awards presentations from the live broadcast, which only served to frustrate those of us who do still want to watch the Oscars.

Nevertheless, we wanted to stay positive and remember a time when the Oscars was fun. In truth, it wasn’t even that long ago that we still enjoyed watching this huge event. And, regardless of how this year’s show turns out, one thing’s for sure; love it or hate it, the Oscars are never far away from fevered discussion.

Moonlight wins Best Picture

Moonlight takes Best Picture after La La Land mistake

The incredible drama of this moment in 2017 is good enough to win an Oscar itself. With the night coming to a close, the Best Picture award was pretty much a two-horse race between Damien Chazelle’s love letter to Hollywood, the musical movie La La Land, and Barry Jenkins’ heartfelt indie flick, Moonlight.

Chazelle had already won Best Director, but Moonlight had won Best Adapted Screenplay, too. Still, not many would have fancied the little indie movie, that cost just $1.5 million to make, to overcome the might of La La Land. So, when the envelope was opened by legendary actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, and the Damien Chazelle movie was announced as the winner, everything appeared to be right with the world.

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That is, until people with headsets and very worried faces starting running around in the background of the La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz’s acceptance speech. Turns out, the wrong envelope had been opened, and Moonlight had indeed won Best Picture.

Ryan Gosling giggled, Jordan Horowitz fumed a little, and the Moonlight team took to the stage to collect their momentous award.

The world falls in love with Bong Joon-ho

The world falls in love with Bong Joon-ho

Oh Bong, sweet Bong! Has there ever been a more pure and delightful filmmaker than Bong Joon-ho? His movies may be pretty dark and twisted, but the man behind them comes across as such a pleasant and passionate human being who just genuinely loves making, and watching, movies.

When his Korean movie, Parasite, cleaned up at the Oscars in 2020, it was a real breakthrough moment for Asian cinema. Not only did the thriller movie become the first foreign language film to take the top prize from The Academy, but the film also won for Best International Feature Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Production Design, and Bong himself won the award for Best Director.

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This sweep of the awards was mightily impressive, and pretty much everyone in the room was happy to see Bong and the fantastic Parasite win their awards. His acceptance speech, too, just helped to endear the audience to this wonderful filmmaker even more, with his tribute to Martin Scorsese, and appeal for film fans to watch more foreign language film.

Between his words, making his multiple Oscars statues kiss, and apologising to the statue engravers for having so many to put his name on, 2020 was truly the year the world fell in love with Bong.

Jennifer Lawrence's first Oscars

Jennifer Lawrence’s first Oscars

Any young actor must dream of making it to the Academy Awards, and better yet, taking home one of the gold statues. For Jennifer Lawrence, that dream came true in 2012, when she scooped the Best Actress award for her role in the drama movie Silver Linings Playbook.

The big night was full of chaotic moments for the now A-List star though. Hearing your name called out as the winner of such a huge award must be quite a bewildering experience, seemingly so much so that Lawrence couldn’t even make it to the stage without losing her balance and nearly faceplanting on the steps.

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Whether it was the excitement, or the massive dress, we’ll never know. But, she made it to the stage and collected her prize, and that was the end of that, right? Wrong. She still had another iconic moment to come, backstage.

During an interview with ACB News, Lawrence was interrupted by none other than Jack Nicholson! The veteran actor told Lawrence that she did a “beautiful job”, before commenting that Lawrence looked like an old girlfriend of his. Trying to keep her cool, Lawrence quickly asked, “Do I look like a new girlfriend?” and an incredible Oscars moment was born.

Halle Berry makes history

Halle Berry makes history

Until 2002, a Black woman had never won the Oscar for Best Actress. That is, until Halle Berry made history by taking home the award for her role in the romance movie Monster’s Ball.

This momentous occasion was supposed to be a crowning achievement for Black performers, and Halle Berry gave a rousing and heartfelt speech about her hopes that this moment could open the door for more Black women to follow in her footsteps. Sadly, this has not been the case.

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Indeed, to this day, Halle Berry’s win 20 years ago, remains the only Best Actress win for a Black woman. The Academy has long been criticised for its paltry efforts in celebrating diversity, and the evidence in this instance is pretty damning.

James Franco is the worst Oscars host ever

James Franco is the worst Oscars host ever

Was James Franco high, or just a really, really rubbish host? I mean, the two options could exist simultaneously, to be fair. In 2011, The Academy decided to mix things up a little and give two younger hosts a shot at the big gig. See, The Oscars has been trying for over a decade now to be cooler, and it just doesn’t seem to work.

James Franco was joined by Anne Hathaway, for what is widely regarded as the worst, most awkward attempt at hosting the big show we have ever seen. We should point out, Hathaway did nothing wrong here, she was perfectly charming and energetic, and really did do her best.

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Franco, however, appeared to be half asleep for much of the ceremony. His jokes fell flat, his lethargy killed most of Hathaway’s banter, and he didn’t really seem to have a clue what was going on. The actor has since admitted he wishes he didn’t host The Oscars, but in truth, his efforts were so painful it was kinda funny.

Will Smith collecting his Oscar at the 94th Academy Awards

The slap!

The Oscars 2022 was a fairly boring event by and large. That is, until Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Will Smith stormed on stage to slap Rock right in the face. The actor then returned to his seat and proceeded to yell “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth” at Rock, who couldn’t quite believe what had happened.

We don’t condone violence and the whole slap fiasco created a few too many Will Smith think pieces, but it did at least provide a little bit of entertainment at the Academy’s expense. Even better, Smith then returned to the stage not long after, but this time it was to collect an award for Best Actor. You couldn’t write this.