The Academy Awards, the movie industry’s biggest night, has served up some unforgettable, unscripted moments in decades-long history. Take a look at some of the most memorable incidents of the storied awards show.
From left: Adrien Brody and Halle Berry in 2003, Robert Benigni in 1999, Bjork in 2001.
Marlon Brando turns down his Oscar, raises awareness and eyebrows (1973)
When “The Godfather’’ star scored a Best Actor statuette for his iconic portrayal of the mob patriarch, not only did Brando decline the award and skip the show, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather (pictured) in his place to protest Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans.
Oscar gets a streaker (1974)
At the 46th Academy Awards, an unexpected — and unclothed — guest stormed the stage, flashing a peace sign as presenter David Niven was speaking.
Niven smartly quipped, “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?’’
Show me the Oscar! (1996)
Cuba Gooding Jr’s memorable Best Supporting Actor acceptance speech rivals his “Jerry Maguire’’ character’s mid-’90s catchphrase, “Show me the money,’’ as one of the star’s most iconic screen turns. When Gooding won the award, his super enthusiastic reaction — we’re talking screams of “I love you all!’’ and triumphant fist-pumping — got the audience on its feet, cheering alongside him despite the increasingly loud cut-off speech music.
Roberto takes Hollywood (1999)
The “Life is Beautiful’’ actor charmed moviegoers in the 1997 Italian movie, and really got the Oscar audience amped with his star’s buck-wild acceptance spectacles, er, speeches for Best Foreign Film and Best Actor at the 71st Academy Awards.
Bjork flies into the fashion hall of fame (2001)
The quirky trip-hop star was in the house at the 73d awards to perform the Oscar-nominated song “I’ve Seen It All’’ from the movie “Dancer in the Dark,’’ in which she also starred. But it was her feathery, swan-swathed frock that stole the show. It was roundly panned by fashion experts, spoofed for years afterward, and has remained one of the most memorable dresses in pop-culture history.
Halle makes history (2002)
Halle Berry became the first African-American to win Best Actress for her role in “Monster’s Ball’’ at the 74th Academy Awards. The emotional actress thanked the late star Dorothy Dandridge, who Berry played in the 1999 HBO movie “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge’’ and was the first African-American to be nominated for the Best Actress honor.
Best actors smooch (2003)
When Adrian Brody won the Best Actor trophy for his role in the Roman Polanski-directed Holocaust drama “The Pianist,’’ the actor made his acceptance speech one that he — or any of us — would ever forget, by planting a wet one on 2002 Best Actress winner Halle Berry.
Marty finally gets Oscar gold (2007)
The legendary director behind acclaimed films such as “Taxi Driver,’’ “Raging Bull,’’ and “Casino’’ didn’t score that elusive Best Director win until decades into his career for the 2006 Boston-based drama “The Departed.’’ After finally hitting pay dirt on his fifth director nod, Scorsese quipped, “Could you double-check the envelope?’’
Heath Ledger gets posthumous award (2009)
It was a tear-jerker of a moment for movie fans at the 2009 Academy Awards. Heath Ledger, who tragically died in his home on Jan. 22, 2008, was posthumously awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.’’ Ledger’s family members accepted the award on his behalf.
Kathryn Bigelow breaks ground (2010)
“The Hurt Locker’’ director broke major ground at the 2010 Academy Awards by becoming the first woman in history to win an Oscar for Best Director. Bigelow notably edged out her ex-husband James Cameron, who was also nominated for the award for directing “Avatar.’’
Melissa Leo drops a bomb (2011)
Leo, who had racked up tons of hardware during the 2011 awards season for her role in Massachusetts-based hit “The Fighter,’’ managed to forget the part about not swearing on live TV when she picked up her Best Supporting Actress trophy.
Jennifer Lawrence’s misstep (2013)
Lawrence, who took home the Best Actress award for her role in “Silver Linings Playbook,’’ had a memorable misstep walking up to the stage in 2013. While she may have been a bit embarrassed falling on live television, the moment won over the nation’s hearts and made her America’s most talked about sweetheart.