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There Is Always Something at the Oscars

The Oscars is a prestigious event celebrating the achievements of film in the past year. It is certainly no easy feat to win an Oscar, let alone be invited to attend such an esteemed award show. Despite its reputation, the show cannot escape the wildness of Hollywood elites and the controversies of celebrities. Whoever thought putting pretentious actors and forever-theatre kids in one room together would be a good idea deserves an award just for that. With that being said, here are five of my favorite Oscars moments over the years.

1. “La La Land” vs. “Moonlight” (2017)

This mix up had no business being as funny as it was. From the audience reaction to the Twitter storm it created, when “La La Land” was named Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars only for the award to be rescinded, the mistake became an iconic moment in Oscars history. I am not a frequent watcher of the award show, but I remember that moment vividly. It was truly such a defining moment of the 2010’s. Watch it here.

2. Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock (2022)

This moment occurred at the 2022 Oscars this past Sunday. The slap heard around the world happened after Chris Rock made a joke referring to Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. Will Smith marched up on the stage and slapped Rock across the face. Watching this was truly priceless. It was so unexpected and bizarre that I almost cannot believe it was not staged. Whatever your thoughts are on this situation, it is undeniably the wildest moment to come out of this year’s Oscars.

3. Sacheen Littlefeather Declines Marlon Brando’s Award (1973)

Marlon Brando won Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, but rather than attending the award show and accepting his award, he sent Indigenous activist Sacheen Littlefeather in his place to decline the award on his behalf. Littlefeather announced that Brando could not accept the award because of the treatment that Indigenous people faced in Hollywood. What makes this moment so notable is the fact that Brando not only declined his award but gave Littlefeather a chance to share a part of her work in front of a huge audience. Her genuine speech and courageous action in the face of judgment is inspiring. This speech has become one of the most memorable moments in the history of the Oscars.

4. John Travolta’s Fumble (2014)

I quote this John Travolta blunder so often because it is somehow the funniest name mispronunciation I have ever heard. When John Travolta announced Idina Menzel as a performer at the 2014 Oscars, he gave her a new name entirely: Adele Dazeem. Now of course, Travolta has explained himself, but I will continue to laugh at how completely wrong he pronounced her name because it made for one of the best moments of 2014 television history.

5. “Parasite” Wins Best Picture (2020)

One of the most unforgettable moments in Oscars history occurred in 2020 when South Korean film “Parasite” took home the biggest award of the night. It was the first time a non-English film had won the Best Picture award. It was truly such a well-deserved win, but it was a long-time coming. There have been amazing films from all over the world that are left out of big award shows such as the Oscars. This win cemented the necessity of the Oscars and other award ceremonies to acknowledge the work done by those outside of who is normally considered.

The Oscars are important in the film industry because they recognize the amazing work that goes into filmmaking. Nevertheless, no award show is complete without its fair share of drama. 

Check out the winners of this year’s Academy Awards here.

Saanya Advani is a junior at Michigan State University studying Criminal Justice with a Women's and Gender Studies minor. Her passions include music, a good bowl of noodles, and protesting unjust institutional systems.