Most Memorable Award-Show Moments

Now that the 2011 award season is under way, we've put together a list of famous award-show moments.

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  • Wolf Blitzer Shows Us His Dougie

    Wolf Blitzer Shows Us His Dougie

    CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer earned a standing ovation for his attempt to do the Dougie at the 2010 Soul Train Awards. The dance’s namesake, Doug E. Fresh, joined The Situation Room host onstage for a little bit of encouragement.

  • Chris Brown Breaks Down (2010 BET Awards)

    Chris Brown Breaks Down (2010 BET Awards)

    Michael Jackson died just days before the 2009 BET Awards aired; many people complained about the hasty tribute the network put together (host Jamie Foxx did the moonwalk, New Edition performed some Jackson 5 hits, etc.). So in 2010, BET made the controversial choice to have Chris Brown perform a spot-on tribute to his idol. Brown, who was seeking redemption after assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna, broke down in sobs as he sang “Man in the Mirror.”

    Captions by Lauren Williams

  • Halle and Denzel Make History (2002 Academy Awards)

    Halle and Denzel Make History (2002 Academy Awards)

    The 2001 Oscars were a banner year for black actors. Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the Academy Award for best actress (see her emotional speech), and Denzel Washington received a long-overdue best actor award, making him the second black actor (Sidney Poitier won in 1963) to win the top prize.

  • Kanye Interrupts Taylor Swift at the VMAs

    Kanye Interrupts Taylor Swift at the VMAs

    Remember the moment when the name “Kanye” turned into a verb meaning, “to rush the stage at an award show and interrupt someone’s acceptance speech”? Of course you do. Everyone remembers when that egotistical rapper Kanye’d that sweet country singer.

  • Aretha Sings Opera (1998 Grammy Awards)

    Aretha Sings Opera (1998 Grammy Awards)

    With fewer than 24 hours to prepare, Aretha Franklin filled in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti, and the soul diva became an opera singer. Franklin got a standing ovation and earned even more R-E-S-P-E-C-T from the industry crowd.

  • Jamie Foxx Tears Up (2004 Golden Globes)

    Jamie Foxx Tears Up (2004 Golden Globes)

    He swept the 2004 award season, heaped with praise for his portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray. But Foxx’s most moving speech that year wasn’t on the Academy Awards stage; it was at the Golden Globes, where he tearfully gave thanks to his late grandmother.

  • Hattie McDaniel Becomes the First (1940 Academy Awards)

    Hattie McDaniel Becomes the First (1940 Academy Awards)

    In later years, the character of Mammy in Gone With the Wind would become cringe-worthy to many blacks and whites alike. But when Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to be nominated for an Oscar, accepted her best supporting actress award for her performance, it was a groundbreaking moment for the actors who followed in her footsteps.

  • Mo'Nique Pays Tribute (2010 Academy Awards)

    Mo'Nique Pays Tribute (2010 Academy Awards)

    A shoo-in for the best supporting actress award for her role in Precious, Mo’Nique showed up at the 2010 Oscars with a gardenia in her hair to honor the woman who made it all possible — Hattie McDaniel, who wore the flowers in her hair when she won her award.

  • Ving Rhames Awards Jack Lemmon (1998 Golden Globes)

    Ving Rhames Awards Jack Lemmon (1998 Golden Globes)

    You’d think a guy would want to keep his award once he won it, wouldn’t you? Not Ving Rhames. After winning a Golden Globe for his TV portrayal of Don King, Rhames took to the stage and awkwardly insisted on bestowing his award upon his reluctant fellow nominee, Jack Lemmon.

  • Milli Vanilli Wins Best New Artist (1990 Grammy Awards)

    Milli Vanilli Wins Best New Artist (1990 Grammy Awards)

    It’s not so much that Milli Vanilli won the Grammy for best new artist in 1990 that makes this a memorable moment. It’s that the award was later rescinded when it came out that Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan did not sing their songs. Things pretty much went downhill from there for the French-German duo. In 1998 Pilatus was found dead of an accidental overdose.

  • Eminem and Elton John Perform Together (2001 Grammy Awards)

    Eminem and Elton John Perform Together (2001 Grammy Awards)

    What better way to disprove all the bad press about you being a virulent homophobe than to invite Elton John to perform with you on the grand stage?

  • Cuba Gooding Jr. Loves You (1997 Academy Awards)

    Cuba Gooding Jr. Loves You (1997 Academy Awards)

    The Jerry Maguire actor brought a jaded Hollywood crowd to their feet with his exuberant and joyful best supporting actor acceptance speech. In case you missed it during the speech, he loves you.

  • Stolen Kisses (2003 Academy Awards)

    Stolen Kisses (2003 Academy Awards)

    We guess that when you’re presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you take it? Halle Berry probably wasn’t expecting best actor award winner Adrien Brody to sweep her into his arms and give her a sloppy kiss when she presented him with his award. But she probably knows more than anyone how you can get caught up in the moment on the Oscar stage.

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda Raps (2008 Tony Awards)

    Lin-Manuel Miranda Raps (2008 Tony Awards)

    The Tony Awards aren’t exactly known for their cool factor, but that changed when In the Heights writer and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda rapped (even freestyling for a portion!) his acceptance speech.

  • Elinor Burkett 'Kanyes' Roger Ross Williams (2010 Academy Awards)

    Elinor Burkett 'Kanyes' Roger Ross Williams (2010 Academy Awards)

    Roger Ross Williams looked thrilled to win the Oscar for best documentary short, until his estranged producing partner stole the mic and his thunder. This is the sort of thing you expect from rock stars — not documentary filmmakers.

  • Hollywood Goes Post-Racial (2009 Golden Globes)

    Hollywood Goes Post-Racial (2009 Golden Globes)

    Believe it or not, the face of post-racial America in those halcyon, post-election days of 2009 wasn’t Barack Obama. It was Tracy Morgan. At least, that’s what he told the world when he accepted the best comedy series Golden Globe for his show, 30 Rock. To drive home his point, he memorably joked, “Deal with it, Cate Blanchett.”

  • Michael in the Mirror (1988 Grammy Awards)

    Michael in the Mirror (1988 Grammy Awards)

    Every time Michael Jackson stepped onto a stage, memories were made. But his performance of “Man in the Mirror” at the 1988 Grammy Awards was so stirring and emotional, it deserves a nod.

  • Marlon Brando's Protest (1973 Academy Awards)

    Marlon Brando's Protest (1973 Academy Awards)

    In lieu of accepting his best supporting actor Oscar for The Godfather, Brando sent a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to deliver a speech to the Academy protesting the depiction of Native Americans in film. The memorable moment inspired the Academy to ban “acceptance by proxy” at the awards.

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