Every year, the Oscars® thrill our eardrums with indelible moments that go down in sound history: hilarious appearances by Hollywood presenters, amazing musical performances, and touching acceptance speeches from thrilled winners.
In anticipation of this year’s big event at the Dolby Theatre®, we’ve combed through the Oscars archive on YouTube to unearth a few moments from Academy Awards® ceremonies past whose lasting audio impact is worth another listen. When appropriate, we’ve jumped you right to the ear-worthy bit of the video, but you can always rewind if you want to see the whole thing.
Who knew that the tune every Oscar winner dreads has lyrics? Jack Black and Will Ferrell sing “Get off the Stage”:
Sound of silence
Sometimes the best sound is silence: Marcel Marceau mimes the list of nominees for Achievement in Sound Editing.
At other times, a beep is as good as a word, as the special guests who helped Mark Hamill present the Special Achievement in Sound Effects Editing award in 1978 knew all too well.
A streaker meets David Niven’s wit in a lopsided battle (spoiler alert: Niven wins).
When Superman appeared on stage with a voice weakened by Christopher Reeve’s tragic accident, it was a moment that transcended the Oscars.
Will Ferrell returned to the Oscars stage, this time with Zach Galifianakis, to present some sublime cymbal silliness.
Stars can get grumpy, but few have quite the growl of Bart the Bear, a presenter in 1998.
Ballad of a rat
Michael Jackson, performing the song “Ben” at age 14, was already one of the brightest stars in a room full of them.
And who could forget the time that Ellen DeGeneres, this year’s host, did a little vacuuming at the 2007 Oscars?
In 1959, back when the telecast was a little looser and less polished, but still a lot of fun, Angela Lansbury, Joan Collins, and Dana Wynter performed a wonderfully arch tune.
The kiss heard round the world
Adrien Brody took the opportunity of his Best Actor win to steal a very long kiss from Halle Berry. In the gasp of the crowd, you can almost hear the men thinking, “I wish I were him right now.”
Sally Field shared a personal affirmation in front of the whole world. We do like you, Ms. Field.
To hear a male interpreter speaking the words that Marlee Matlin was signing reinforced her achievement in being the first deaf actor to win an Oscar.
Thanks from the mafia
The Three 6 Mafia brought a welcome dose of hip-hop energy to the Oscars stage. And Jon Stewart’s follow-up was priceless: “I think it just got a little easier out here for a pimp.”
Sacheen Littlefeather experiences, on Marlon Brando’s behalf, the sound any winner most dreads hearing during an acceptance speech—boos.
Groucho Marx fondly imitated his friend and co-star Margaret Dumont—apparently the one person in America who didn’t find Groucho funny.