Past Oscar Moments


Most memorable Oscar moments

Gaffes and grandstanding through the years have kept the annual awards ceremony entertaining.
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Best actor winner Adrien Brody suprised presenter Halle Berry with a kiss in 2003.
One of the secret pleasures of watching a live broadcast is the joy of seeing it go off script. Such moments appeal to the mayhem-loving child in all of us. This year's Super Bowl got much more exciting for viewers (and, apparently, the 49ers) when it was interrupted by a mysterious 34-minute power outage.
The Academy Awards telecast has endured its share of gaffes, surprises and disasters over the years as well. Here's a look at some of the most famous.
1958: Performing "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Rock Hudson and Mae West got a little too frisky. During the song, Hudson said "King-sized" as he gave West a cigarette. At the end of the number she announced, "It's not the men in your life, it's the life in your men." Then the pair kissed – a lingering kiss. Rock, we hardly knew you.
1959: Oscar show producer Jerry Wald cut several numbers to make sure it ran on time. Unfortunately, he pared back too much and the ceremony ended 20 minutes early. Host Jerry Lewis tried desperately to fill the dead air. "I proceeded to do shtick and bits and talk to the musicians in the pit," Lewis said. "I went on until I ran out, then I brought everyone onstage and had a dance contest. I had Clark Gable dancing with Ann Sheridan. I had Cagney dancing with Bogart, and we danced until we went off the air." Lewis never hosted again.
1970: Swathed in mink, nominee Jane Fonda emerged from her limousine at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and greeted the Oscar star-watching throngs with a Black Panther salute. Take that, Middle America!
1973: Remember Sacheen Littlefeather? The attractive stand-in for Marlon Brando came armed with a 15-page rejection letter as she stepped up to the podium after he won the best-actor Oscar for playing "The Godfather's" Vito Corleone. Brando, who was active in the American Indian Movement, believed native Americans were often mistreated by Hollywood. Littlefeather was actually an actress named Maria Cruz, though she claimed Apache, Yaqui, Pueblo and European ancestry. The incident prompted the Academy to bar proxy recipients.
1974: Presenter David Niven proved his credentials as The Most Debonair Man in the World when he was momentarily upstaged by a naked guy running across the stage (it was the most famous chapter in the short-lived "streaking" craze). With a twinkle in his eye, Niven quipped, "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?"
1978: Vanessa Redgrave, who won best supporting actress for her performance in "Julia," used the Oscar podium to support the Palestinian cause and condemn "Zionist hoodlums." She got booed, and the Jewish Defense League burned her in effigy in front of the auditorium (I guess they were tipped off about the speech).
1989: Rob Lowe was lucky to have a career after he performed an off-key and off-color rendition of "Proud Mary" with Snow White, whose expression often looked a little like the victimized cat in the Pepé Le Pew cartoons. Disney, un-amused like the rest of the world, threatened legal action. What did the Academy expect from producer Allan Carr, responsible for such schlock as "Grease" and "Can't Stop the Music"?
1992: Accepting his best supporting actor statuette for his work in "City Slickers," 73-year-old Jack Palance stole a line from the movie about his co-star Billy Crystal: "I crap bigger than him." Then he dropped and gave the world a display of one-armed push-ups.
1999: When Italian actor-director-funny man Roberto Benigni accepted the foreign-language Oscar for his movie "Life Is Beautiful," he made one of the most memorable acceptances in the telecast's history. He bounded to the stage across the tops of seats in the Chandler Pavilion. At the microphone he exclaimed, "This is the moment of joy, and I want to kiss everybody because you are the major of the joy, and he who kisses the joy as it flies lives in eternity's sunrise, say the poet." Nobody knew quite what he meant, but Benigni stole the evening.
2003: Filmmaker Michael Moore, who won an Oscar for his documentary "Bowling for Columbine," predictably used his podium moment to launch a long tirade against President George W. Bush and the Iraq War. Like Redgrave before him, Moore got booed.
2003: Adrien Brody, picking up a golden knick-knack for his performance in "The Pianist," dipped presenter Halle Berry and gave her a lingering kiss. He followed the six-second smooch seen 'round the world with a witticism to Berry: "I bet they didn't tell you that was in the gift bag."
2012: British actor Sacha Baron Cohen, the Andy Kaufman of his generation, appeared on the red carpet before the Oscar telecast carrying an urn and dressed like General

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