I honestly don’t recall the first Oscar broadcast I ever watched. That would probably be because I was so young that I wasn’t sure what I was watching! My mom was a fan of movies, hence where I acquired my love of cinema, so in the Shelly household it was a major EVENT. More than likely I initially expressed enthusiasm because it was a viable excuse to stay up later than usual on a Sunday night. LOL! Growing up in the mountains with the closest theater over 60 miles away and TV reception iffy at the best of times, and during the eras when renting videos wasn’t even a dream to the average person, we rarely knew the movies nominated. Still, the stars were familiar, and of course there were the gowns! Yes, it was the glitz and glamor of the Oscars that drew us in. Eventually, however, I moved to the big city where theaters abounded, and VHS players were invented. My passion for cinema took off, most likely when I saw Star Wars on the big screen!
I can recall many Oscar moments that struck me as ultra special, or funny, or touching, or something. I am going to share a few, and want to hear from you too!
Hands down the best Oscar experience of my life was in 2004 when Return of the King swept the awards with eleven wins, tying Ben Hur and Titanic for the most won by one movie. The accolades heaped upon the brilliant Peter Jackson and his crew was the crowning achievement for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and was added to the six Oscars won for The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. As deserved as the movies were, the crazy success and Academy crowning was a long-overdue acknowledgement of the fantasy/sci-fi genre. About time! For me it was a night anticipated with fervor for weeks. Throughout the whole show I was on the phone with my sister Janis, fellow LOTR fanatic since our youth, sharing our giddy squees and boundless joy. It was the ultimate highlight of several years of Tolkien-geek love!
Billy Crystal is my personal favorite host of them all. His movie montage intros are absolutely hysterical! And as a host he was the bomb. Runners up are Johnny Carson and Bob Hope. Next I would say Steve Martin. None of the newer hosts have come close. This clip is from the 76th Academy Awards and combines Billy’s creative montage with my favorite movie.
I loved 74-year-old Jack Palance doing one handed pushups when he won for City Slickers in 1992. Billy Crystal had loads of fun with it all through the show, and let’s face it, the old man proved how tough he is!
Cher wearing Bob Mackie! For several years in a row it was the one and only Cher who set the bar for outrageous Oscar gowns. I can’t say they were looks I liked, but it was something to look forward to in an often boring show.
The great Steven Spielberg finally wins his Oscar in 1994. He deserved the Best Director and/or Movie statuette for The Color Purple (Out of Africa, seriously? Blech!), E. T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind if you ask me, but his win for Schindler’s List was phenomenal.
Yes, I cried when an emotional Jane Fonda accepted the Best Actor award for her father, the iconic Henry Fonda. He won for On Golden Pond – a wonderful movie – but was too ill to attend the ceremony. Four months later he died.
It is probably no surprise coming from me, but I adored Sally Field’s exuberant, “You like me! You really like me!” She is just too cute for words, and her happiness came across as completely genuine. Plus, while gushy and high energy, Sally wasn’t over the top or just plain stupid about it. That prize goes to Halle Berry, Cuba Gooding Jr., Roberto Benigni, and Julia Roberts, who were ridiculous.
Wins that I was SO SO happy about–
Jeff Bridges, Best Actor for Crazy Heart – I love Jeff and loved that movie.
Lord of the Rings – Yeah, I already said it but it is worth mentioning again!
Gladiator, Braveheart, Titanic, and American Beauty – Four of my all time favorite movies, EVER, and by far the best in their respective years. I was ecstatic when they won! Seeing Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey win as well put me over the moon.
Now it is your turn. What are your favorite Oscar wins and ceremony moments? And if you are curious, as I was, who/what has won the top awards since the Oscars began, here is a list: Oscar Winners 1929-2012