Best Oscar Moments That Went Viral

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Most times, the Oscars broadcast goes off without a hitch. But other times, things happen that leave people talking about it for years — or even decades — to come. While surprises have been happening since before the Oscars were even broadcast — much less before the boom of social media — The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at the biggest viral moments from the last 10 years. Hollywood won’t forget about the streaker or Jennifer Lawrence tripping up the stairs, but those moments happened before 2014.

Adele Dazeem (2014)

John Travolta was set to introduce Idina Menzel before she took the stage to sing “Let It Go” from the Oscar-winning film Frozen. Somehow, he botched her entire name and introduced her as the “wickedly talented, one and only, Adele Dazeem.” Not only did it spark countless memes, but the singer-actress later said it was one of the best things that happened for her career.

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Ellen DeGeneres’ Selfie That Broke Twitter (2014)

While the comedian was hosting in 2014, she took a selfie of herself with Bradley Cooper, Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Jared Leto. The tweet crashed Twitter after it quickly became the most shared photo on the platform, having been retweeted two million times in just two hours during the 86th Academy Awards. In total, the post on DeGeneres’ account generated 4.87 million engagements and remains one of the top 5 most retweeted posts on X (formerly Twitter) of all time.

Patricia Arquette’s Gender Pay Equity Speech (2015)

When the actress won for her role in Boyhood, Arquette made a plea for equal pay for women during her acceptance speech. The camera panned to Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez in the audience, who were cheering her on.

Brie Larson Hugging Sexual Assault Victims (2016)

At the finale of Lady Gaga’s performance of “‘Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground, a documentary focusing on sexual assault on college campuses, a group of male and female sexual assault survivors joined the singer onstage. After the performance and during commercial break, best actress winner Brie Larson (who won that year for Room, a film about a woman held captive and bearing a child in captivity) stood up and hugged every single survivor as they exited the stage. The moment, captured by THR’s Chris Gardner, went viral.

EnvelopeGate (2017)

No Oscars moment can hold a candle (that is, of course, until Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage. More on that in a minute) to the one that unfolded at the very end of the 89th Oscars in 2017 — the night the wrong best picture winner was announced. Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as the best picture winner, although Moonlight was the actual winner. As La La Land’s cast and crew took the stage, madness was unfolding backstage as it became clear that Dunaway and Warren Beatty had been handed the wrong envelope by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for tallying votes and handing the envelopes to the presenters.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Steamy “Shallow” Performance from A Star Is Born (2018)

When Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed their song “Shallow” from A Star Is Born at the Academy Awards in 2018, viewers were convinced the two were madly in love. Their chemistry during their performance became one of the most talked-about moments at the show that year. However, Gaga, during several interviews after the show, denied any real-life romance.

Billy Porter’s Tuxedo Gown (2019)

The actor wore a black velvet tuxedo dress designed by Christian Siriano to the Oscars, capturing the attention of many fashion journalists and fans worldwide. It cemented Porter’s status as a celebrity and as a fashion icon and many lauded the actor’s boundary-pushing choice. In 2023, Porter presented at the Golden Globes wearing a fuchsia pink tuxedo gown, also designed by Siriano.

Billy Porter attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Billy Porter at the 2019 Oscars

Bong Joon Ho’s Very Fun Year (2020)

No one had more fun at the 2020 Oscars than Bong Joon Ho, who won best screenplay, best international feature film, best director and best picture for his film Parasite. After saying he will “drink until next morning” during his international acceptance speech and being seen gazing down lovingly at his screenplay Oscar, he famously made his Oscars kiss. The moment went viral and is still one of the most adorable things to ever have happened.

Director Bong Joon-ho, winner of the Original Screenplay, International Feature Film, Directing, and Best Picture awards for “Parasite,” poses in the press room during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
Bong Joon Ho with his kissing Oscars

The Slap (2022)

Who could forget the Slap that was heard around the world? During the 2022 Academy Awards, Will Smith (who was nominated and would later win in the lead actor category for his performance in King Richard) got up on stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock after he made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. Smith returned to his seat and shouted “keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” Rock briefly responded and then went on to continue the show. Smith resigned his Academy membership and was banned from any Academy-related events for 10 years.

Hugh Grant’s Awkward Red Carpet Interview (2023)

An interview went viral last year of Hugh Grant, who was answering Ashley Graham’s questions on the red carpet ahead of the show. Viewers called the British actor rude and awkward as he seemed completely unprepared and unamused by the model’s questions. After Graham wrapped the painful interview, Grant walked away looking as confused as viewers were.

Tems’ Viral Oscars Gown (2023)

The singer made headlines last year when she wore a dress that completely blocked the view of the stage for the people behind her. A photo of her sitting in the crowd with her white gown went viral online, with people offering their commentary on whether it was plain rude or a bold style choice.

Tems attends the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.
Tems at the 2023 Oscars

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