Group of Oscar Award winner holding trophies

Oscar winners holding their awards in the photo room at the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles. (Photo by Featureflash Photo Agency on Shutterstock)

The 95th Academy Awards ceremony air on Sunday, March 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC, and while everyone has opinions about the nominees, we can all agree that some Oscar moments are unforgettable. That’s why we host watch parties and gather around the TV to discuss films that made it big on the big screen. Oh, and of course, we watch for the best Oscar Awards moments as they happen in real time.

Obviously Hollywood actors make a lot more money than the average person, but a new survey finds some stars actually make more in a single second than many people do in an entire year! While she’s definitely a member of the A-list, it may surprise you to find out that Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock tops the list of actors in Oscar-worthy movies in terms of her worth per second to these films! The actress is worth nearly $95,000 for every second she’s on the screen in recent Oscar-nominated films. Jaw. Dropped.

Speaking of the films, many people prepare for this awards show by watching all the films nominated. That makes total sense, according to a poll about screen time being a way to destress. Actually, Americans use TV to destress more than any other relaxation method. Out of 2,000 adults polled, 55 percent said they watch TV as a self-soothing technique for relieving anxiety or stress. No one can guarantee the Oscars will be drama-free though.

The Oscars recognize the performances that wowed us over the past year, but that isn’t always what the annual ceremony is remembered for. Sometimes an unexpected moment will dominate all conversation surrounding that year’s Academy Awards, even overshadowing the winners. If you look at the history of the Academy Awards, some moments could be worthy of winning Oscars themselves. So, we searched for the consensus among experts on which stand out as the best Oscar Awards moments of all time. Let us know in the comments if we missed any scandals or laughable moments in the comments below. And the winners are …

Winners holding their Oscar trophies in the photo room at the 89th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles.
Winners holding their Oscar trophies in the photo room at the 89th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles. (Photo by Jaguar PS on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Oscar Awards Moments, According to Experts

1. “Moonlight Won Best Picture!”

This moment is the epitome of cringe. Empire describes it like this: “The Oscar for Best Picture was initially awarded to the wrong film. The La La Land team duly bounded in delight to the stage, speeches were made – and then there followed minutes of confusion before La La Land’s producer, Jordan Horowitz, took the microphone to announce, ‘This is not a joke; Moonlight won Best Picture.’

“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, and the Damien Chazelle movie was announced as the winner, everything appeared to be right with the world. 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,” Digital Fix recaps.

NPR explains, “Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced that La La Land had won best picture. The cast and crew of the film, which had already won 12 other awards, were ecstatic as they crowded the stage. But … there had been a mistake: Moonlight had won best picture. Amid the chaos that ensued, Beatty explained that he and Dunaway had been given the card from the previous award: Emma Stone, in La La Land.”

2. Hattie McDaniel became the first black person to be awarded an Oscar admires Hattie McDaniel’s time in the Oscars’ spotlight the most: “The Oscars had been running for eleven years … by the time Hattie McDaniel received her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was the first Black actor to ever take home an Oscar, recognised for her work as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.” 

“It took more than a decade for the first Black actress to win an Academy Award. The honor went to McDaniel for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939). However, the win wasn’t all progress: In 1940, with segregation still intact, McDaniel wasn’t allowed to sit with the rest of the film’s cast and was seated at the back of the venue,” People recounts.

“It would, however, be another 23 years before a Black actor, Sidney Poitier, won in either of the leading categories and 62 years before Halle Berry won Best Actress,” points out Empire.

3. Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor

Everything Zoomer talks about why this moment is so special: “On April 13, 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first African-American to win an Oscar for Best Actor. Previously nominated in 1958 for The Defiant Ones, Poitier finally took home the little gold statue for his role in Lilies of the Field. The win was not without a mild scandal, however. Some guests and viewers took issue with the fact that presenter Anne Bancroft congratulated him with a kiss on the cheek.”

According to Harper’s BAZAAR, “When Poitier accepted the award, Anne Bancroft gave him a quick congratulatory peck on the cheek. Racial conservatives considered the kiss offensive. It would be 38 years before another Black man — Denzel Washington — won the category.”

“Poitier was the first Black actor to win the award for a leading role and it pushed him toward a career that would make him, for a time, the biggest star in Hollywood. Many owe him a debt,” writes Empire.

4. Will Smith slaps Chris Rock

Vogue thinks this slap will always be in the top Oscar moments: “In a moment that truly redefined Oscar-night drama, presenter Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s hair loss, only to have Pinkett-Smith’s husband, Will Smith, mount the stage, slap Rock twice, and shout: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth.’ TBH, we’re still not over it.” says it dominated headlines: “The latest Oscar moment to dominate headlines came at this year’s 94th Academy Awards, when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock across the face after the comic made a joke referring to his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. Rock joked that she was preparing for a role in a fictional GI Jane sequel. Pinkett Smith looked visibly unamused by the gag, with her husband storming onto the stage moments later to strike Rock.”

Smith’s consequences? “Will, who later won Best Actor for his role in 2021’s King Richard, later addressed the incident in his emotional acceptance speech, apologizing to the Academy and his fellow nominees — but not Rock. Will later resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Academy instituted a 10-year ban on the actor from attending any of the organization’s events, including the Oscars,” says People.

5. The 1974 Streaker

Among all the suits at Oscars, someone wearing a “birthday suit” probably wouldn’t have come to mind. But Collider says, “That’s right, a naked person at the Oscars. At the 46th Oscars in 1974, the host, David Niven, was in the middle of Elizabeth Taylor when he received a bit of a surprise. A man named Robert Opel posed as a journalist to sneak backstage at the Oscars and then streaked onstage while flashing a peace sign to the crowd. The crowd roared with laughter.” 

“Robert Opel, a conceptual artist, attained instant notoriety at the 46th Academy Awards in 1974. Out of nowhere, Opel ran onto the stage, totally nude, and flashed a peace sign. The quick-thinking Niven wryly commented, ‘Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings,’” Ranker says, summing up the list of the top Oscar moments. 

It may not have been a total surprise. According to Everything Zoomer, “The famous ad-lib, which was met with enthusiastic applause at the time, has been much-contested in recent years, with some claiming that the show’s producer, Jack Haley Jr., colluded with Opel to stage it as a ratings-grabbing stunt. Business manager Robert Metzler said that, during dress rehearsal, Niven asked for a pen to write down the now-famous quip.”

What’s your favorite moment of all time from the Academy Awards? Let us know in the comments!

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