From proud photographs to tearful speeches, we recount the ten most wholesome Oscars moments of all time.
Like all art mediums, film can inspire us, make us dream, and elicit feelings from us that we didn’t know we had. There is little surprise then that the people responsible for making these films are capable of doing that exact same thing.
From the heart-warming to the tear-jerking, here is our list of the top ten most wholesome Oscars moments of all time.
- From proud photographs to tearful speeches, we recount the ten most wholesome Oscars moments of all time.
- 10. Leonardo DiCaprio taking a photo of his Oscar in 2016 – a proud moment for Leo
- 9. Mira Sorvino thanking her dad in 1996 – Sorvino thanks her father
- 8. Lupita Nyong’o’s speech in 2014 – your dreams are valid
- 7. Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson in 2019 – two old friends
- 6. Ke Huy Quan’s speech in 2023 – “keep your dreams alive”
- 5. Louise Fletcher thanking her parents in 1976 – one of the most wholesome Oscars moments of all time
- 4. Bong Joon-ho’s speech in 2020 – a bilingual speech
- 3. Yuh-Jung Youn’s reaction to Troy Kotsur’s win in 2022 – another ASL Oscars moment
- 2. Anna Paquin’s reaction in 1994 – an Oscar win at just 11 years old
- 1. Olivia Colman’s reaction in 2019 – a humble recipient
10. Leonardo DiCaprio taking a photo of his Oscar in 2016 – a proud moment for Leo
Many regard Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the finest actors of his generation; hence his lack of an Oscar caused consternation for many film fans. That is until 2016 when DiCaprio finally picked up his first Oscar after his sixth nomination for The Revenant.
He closed his speech with an impassioned plea not to take our planet for granted. But it was this quieter moment, proudly taking a photo on his phone of his own hard-won statuette, that was one of the most wholesome Oscars moments of all time.
9. Mira Sorvino thanking her dad in 1996 – Sorvino thanks her father
Mira Sorvino won the award for Best Supporting Actress in 1996 for her performance as Linda Ash in Mighty Aphrodite, pipping Joan Allen, Kathleen Quinlan, Mare Winningham, and Kate Winslet to the honour.
During her acceptance speech, she made special mention of her father – fellow actor Paul Sorvino. Cue the camera cutting to a visibly emotional Sorvino who breaks down in proud tears of joy.
8. Lupita Nyong’o’s speech in 2014 – your dreams are valid
Lupita Nyong’o was awarded Best Supporting Actress in 2014 for her important performance in Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 12 Years a Slave.
An overjoyed Nyong’o let out a shout of “Yes!” at the beginning of her speech and was visibly overcome with emotion as she thanked the cast and crew of the Best Picture-winning film.
She finished her speech with a word of inspiration: “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid”.
7. Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson in 2019 – two old friends
When Spike Lee and his co-script-writers, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott, picked up the award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2019, no one was more excited than Samuel L. Jackson.
The two collaborated on five films in the 80s and 90s – School Daze, Do The Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, and Jungle Fever – and Jackson was over the moon for his friend. As Lee ascended the stage stairs, Jackson ran to him, and the two shared a beautiful, celebratory hug.
6. Ke Huy Quan’s speech in 2023 – “keep your dreams alive”
Through his tears, Quan opened his speech by directly addressing his 84-year-old mother – “Mom, I just won an Oscar!”. He then recounted his Hollywood-like story from a refugee camp to the biggest stage of all.
After thanking a litany of people, he then turned to the camera to tell all those watching to “please keep your dreams alive”. A particularly wholesome Oscars moment as Quan himself had previously quit acting in the early 2000s.
5. Louise Fletcher thanking her parents in 1976 – one of the most wholesome Oscars moments of all time
Louise Fletcher’s masterful performance as Nurse Ratched in 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest earned her the Best Actress award.
Fletcher thanked her co-stars and producers before turning her attention to her parents. What made this moment so special, however, was that she used American Sign Language (ASL) for this part of her speech, as her parents were both deaf.
4. Bong Joon-ho’s speech in 2020 – a bilingual speech
Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite became the first foreign language film to win the Best Picture Oscar in 2020, and his speech provided more than one wholesome moment.
Firstly, he broke from his native Korean to thank Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino in English. Then, he told his fellow nominees that he wished he could “split the Oscar trophy into five and share it with all of you”.
Finally, he brought down the house when he quipped, again in English, “Thank you. I will drink until next morning”.
3. Yuh-Jung Youn’s reaction to Troy Kotsur’s win in 2022 – another ASL Oscars moment
Another heartwarming moment involving ASL happened during Trot Kotsur’s speech in 2022. Kotsur is deaf and won his Best Supporting Actor award for his performance in the uplifting movie CODA – which is an acronym for Child of Deaf Adults.
Kotsur gave a wholesome shout-out to the deaf theatres where he learned his trade, but it was presenter Yuh-Jung Youn’s reaction to his win – including using a bit of ASL herself – that really warmed our hearts.
2. Anna Paquin’s reaction in 1994 – an Oscar win at just 11 years old
Anna Paquin was just 11 years old when she won Best Supporting Actress for her debut film, The Piano.
Paquin is very visibly shocked as she accepts her award, hyperventilating with wide-eyed awe on her face.
1. Olivia Colman’s reaction in 2019 – a humble recipient
The shock is palpable when the camera focuses on Olivia Colman’s face after Frances McDormand announces her as the winner of the Best Actress award. She then shares a beautiful moment of disbelieving celebration with The Favourite co-star Emma Stone.
Lost for words, she then labels the experience as “hilarious” before seeming to thank everyone in the room through her tears.