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Dumb antics, touching moments, one-armed pushups

Memorable Oscar moments keep viewers coming back

Jack Palance at the 1991 Academy Awards ceremony
When Jack Palance won the best supporting actor award in 1991 for his role in "City Slickers," he demonstrated his virility by performing one-armed pushups on stage  

(CNN) -- She already had scored an Oscar for "Norma Rae," but something about that second statuette got Sally Field all misty-eyed.

"The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it," she declared after winning best actress for 1984's "Places in the Heart," "and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!"

Field might prefer to forget it, but the speech is forever etched in viewers' minds as one of those distinctly memorable Oscar moments.

Oh, those moments: They're eloquent, awkward, amusing, mawkish. Sometimes they're just plain infuriating.

Perhaps even more than the awards themselves, those rare, often unscripted moments are the reason we keep tuning in to that interminable Academy Awards ceremony.

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Here's a look back at some Oscar stunners and stinkers.

• Charlie Chaplin, his career and reputation damaged by accusations of subversive, pro-communist views, returned to Hollywood in 1972 after a 20-year exile to accept an honorary Oscar. The audience greeted him with an extended standing ovation. His emotional response: "Thank you for the honor of inviting me here and ... oh ... you're wonderful, sweet people. Thank you."

• An aging Jack Palance won the best supporting actor for his role in "City Slickers" (1991), then felt obliged to demonstrate his virility by performing one-armed pushups on stage.

• While accepting her best supporting actress award for "Julia" (1977), Vanessa Redgrave was booed by the audience for bemoaning the "Zionist hoodlums" who protested her pro-Palestinian views.

• Perhaps wisecracker David Letterman's hosting duties in 1995 should be called an "Oscar eternity," not a moment. His efforts fell excruciatingly flat, and Hollywood was in no mood for his mockery. In the end, all we remember is "Uma, Oprah."

• Hattie McDaniel became the first black performer to win -- and be nominated for -- an Academy Award when she received the best supporting actress nod for her 1939 role as Mammy in "Gone With the Wind."

• Director Elia Kazan received a standing ovation when he received the lifetime achievement award in 1999, but many in the crowd were unmoved. They stayed seated to protest his decision in 1952 to give a congressional committee the names of eight people he knew to be members of the Communist Party.

•When Tom Hanks won the best actor Oscar for "Philadelphia" (1993), he thanked his high school drama teacher and a former classmate, calling them "two of the finest gay Americans, two wonderful men that I had the good fortune to be associated with." The speech would inspire the Kevin Kline comedy "In & Out."

• In an undisputed Oscar low point, Rob Lowe -- still reeling in 1989 from a tabloid sex scandal -- surfaced in a campy song-and-dance routine with an actress who was supposed to be Snow White. Disney was so disgusted it sued for unauthorized use of its character.

•James Cameron checked humility at the door before accepting his 1997 best director award for "Titanic," raising his arm and gleefully repeating Leonardo DiCaprio's line: "I'm king of the world."

• Cuba Gooding Jr. hardly tried to conceal his delight when he won best supporting actor for "Jerry Maguire" in 1997. "I love you!" he exclaimed, proceeding to declare his love for co-star Tom Cruise, director Cameron Crowe, the producer and then some: "Everybody who's involved with this, I love you."



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