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The Most Memorable Oscar Moments of All Time

Updated September 21, 2020 5.1k votes 1.3k voters 67.9k views29 items

List RulesVote up the Oscar memories that deserve to go down in history.

The Academy Awards are cinema’s most prestigious prize. Although there are moments of humor, the ceremony is typically a buttoned-up, serious affair. An Oscar can change the entire life for a winning actor, or generate millions of extra dollars at the box office for a motion picture. However, you have to remember that the ceremony is live, and even though the people attending are mostly superstar Hollywood celebrities, they're still human. Here are the best Oscar moments of all time.

These Oscar moments consist of a little bit of everything. If you’re looking for a list that concentrates on just the best acceptance speeches, you'll find that here. Of course, there are a few memorable speeches included, no Oscar list would be complete without a mention of Sally Field, and how much everyone likes her.

This list also celebrates the awkward moments. Remember when John Travolta called Idina Menzel, "Adele Dazeem"? How about when poor Frank Capra walked up to the stage when Frank Lloyd was actually the winner?

There are special Oscar moments on this list as well. From the wonderful time when John Wayne got to say his own kind of farewell to his colleagues and fans before passing away a few months later, to when Woody Allen made his lone appearance at the Oscars to pay tribute to his native New York six months after 9/11. There are also the unforgettable outfits - thank you Cher and Björk for being true fashion statement makers.

Make your voice heard, vote up the most memorable Oscar moments of all time.
  • Tom Hanks Commits a Monster Oopsie
    Video: YouTube
    In an open-mouth-insert-foot moment for the ages, Tom Hanks accidentally outed his high school drama teacher while accepting the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as an AIDS-stricken man in the 1993 drama Philadelphia. Hanks lauded his drama teacher Rawley Farnsworth in the speech, calling him, "one of the finest gay Americans that I had the good fortune to be associated with." It all turned okay in the end and even sparked the premise for the 1997 film In and Out.
    Is this iconic?
  • An Offer Marlon Brando COULD Refuse
    Video: YouTube
    Marlon Brando is often cited as one of the best actors of all time. However, awards do not mean the same thing to everyone. When Brando won his second Oscar in 1973 (Best Actor for his performance as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather), he sent Sacheen Littlefeather up to the podium to decline the award for him, because of Hollywood's unfair treatment of Native Americans.
    Is this iconic?
  • Charlie Chaplin Returns Stateside to Receive an Honorary Oscar
    Video: YouTube
    Charlie Chaplin, one of the first icons of film, and still considered one of the most innovative directors ever, made a joyous return to Hollywood after a two decade absence over alleged Communist ties. Chaplin received an honorary Oscar in 1972, along with an emotional 12-minute standing ovation.
    Is this iconic?
  • 4

    A Mix-Up With Envelopes Names The Wrong Best Picture Winner

    A Mix-Up With Envelopes Names The Wrong Best Picture Winner
    Video: YouTube

    At the 2017 Academy Awards, everyone was anxiously awaiting to see who would take home Best Picture. While La La Land was the favorite, many predicted the stunning and emotional Moonlight would take home the top honor. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway went on stage to announce the award - but they had the wrong envelope. Instead of Best Picture, Beatty had the envelope for Best Actress, which went to La La Land's Emma Stone. In a moment of mass confusion, La La Land's team came up on stage, took the award, and began giving their acceptance speeches before someone alerted La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz that Moonlight had actually been crowned the winner.  

    Despite the huge mix-up - and the chaotic 10 minutes that followed - both teams from La La Land and Moonlight supported one another and were congenial about it. 

    Is this iconic?