Oscar nominations 2014: Great Oscar TV moments

Oscar nominations 2014: Great Oscar TV moments
Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars in 1992. (Los Angeles Times)

Now that the Oscar nominations have been revealed, the heart of Oscar season is upon us. And as we lead up to the big night on March 2, it might do us all some good to step away from the insistent and unceasing Oscar prognosticating and try to remember the great moments from Oscars past that have played best on TV.

Yes, it may have been thrilling the year that movie you really loved won. But unless the speech was delivered by Roberto Benigni in the throes of joy, you probably don't remember who said what or even what was said.


While the nominees do their campaigning and the bloggers make their forecasts, here are some reminders of what makes the Oscar show remain popular viewing: it's the moments.

Streaker at the Oscars | 1974

David Niven was on stage to introduce Elizabeth Taylor to present the Oscar for best picture when a naked man named Robert Opel ran buck-naked across the stage. What was already a classic moment got even better with Niven's well-timed retort. It's probably one of the most referenced moments in Oscar history. If you have managed to never actually see it, here it is.

Billy Crystal's flu performance | 1992

Billy Crystal is widely hailed as the best modern Oscar host -- he's done it nine times -- and many felt his performance at the 1992 Oscars was his best. But did you know he was suffering from the flu the entire night? Here's his opening monologue from that night. Next time you're suffering from the flu, try just standing in front of your bathroom mirror and doing the same thing. Not even close. Not seen in this clip is Crystal's Hannibal Lecter-style entrance, which was the first tip that "Silence of the Lambs" was about to have a big night.

Jack Palance's one-armed push-ups | 1992

Palance was a man's man -- a man's man, you hear me? And when he won the Oscar for best supporting actor for "City Slickers," he felt the need to prove it by doing some impromptu one-armed push-ups on stage. He also provided the best description ever of Oscar host Billy Crystal, with the immortal speech opening, "Billy Crystal... I crap bigger than him."

Roberto Benigni freaks out | 1999

Benigni, known as one of the funniest comedians in Italy, won the Oscar for best foreign language film for his tragicomedy "Life is Beautiful." When the writer-director-star's name was read by presenter Sophia Loren, Benigni didn't just run to the stage. He climbed on the chairs, he almost stepped on Billy Bob Thornton and Steven Spielberg. He hopped to the stage. And he said wonderful, excited things in comically broken English. Every winner should behave this way. Every single one.

Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first female directing winner | 2010

It's always fun to see a breakthrough happen right before your eyes, and though people tend to mock awards show speeches and awards shows in general as a giant Hollywood back pat, it was gratifying to witness the reality of history being made sweep across the face of Kathryn Bigelow as she became the first female director to win an Oscar for "The Hurt Locker." Strangely, she failed to be nominated for her follow-up film, "Zero Dark Thirty."