Joel Cohen & Ethan Cohen & Scott Rudin at the 80th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood. February 24, 2008 Los Angeles, CA Picture: Paul Smith / Featureflash

Most Shocking Oscar Speeches of All Time


With the 94th Oscars ceremony upcoming – 28 March 2022 – many of us will be looking forward to the iconic speeches that undoubtedly come each year.

To prepare, RantCasino were keen to discover the most shocking and controversial Oscars acceptance speeches of all time and can exclusively reveal all!

Top 5 Most Controversial Oscars SpeechesBreaking The Internet – 525% Search Increase For THIS ActorAfter Their Oscars Speech

RankName of NomineeName of FilmReason forControversyAward CategoryDate of OscarsYouTube View Count
1.Joaquin PhoenixJokerVegan and Anti Cancel Culture BeliefsBest Actor92nd Oscars – 202011,652,896
2.Marlon BrandoGodFatherRefused to Accept Award in ProtestBest Actor45th Oscars — 197311,527,208
3.Angelina JolieGirl, InterruptedOver-AffectionTowards BrotherBest Supporting Actress72nd Oscars — 20005,357,608
4.Frances McDormandThree Billboards Called Out Lack of Diversity in FilmBest Actress90th Oscars — 20183,334,313
5.Fred BergerMoonlight – La La LandAward Given to Wrong FilmBest Picture89th Oscars — 20172,376,403

“We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.” — Joaquin Phoenix, 2020 

The most-watched Oscars speech on the list was accepted by Joaquin Phoenix, for his iconic 2019 role as the Joker.

The actor’s speech has been viewed over 11.6 million times (11,652,896) – with Phoenix using his 90 seconds to discuss his vegan and anti “cancel culture” beliefs – in a speech that has been described as “breaking the internet.”

Google Trends show a 525% increase in search volumes for Joaquin Phoenix in the two weeks between the end of January and the date of Joaquin’s speech (26/01—09/02), reaching peak popularity on the day of the speech – suggesting it truly did break the internet. 

Watch Joaquin Phoenix’s speech here.

At the 1973 Academy Awards, Sacheen Littlefeather refuses the Academy Award for Best Actor on behalf of Marlon Brando who won for his role in The Godfather. She carries a letter from Brando in which he explains he refused the award in protest of American treatment of the Native Americans.

“He very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.” — Sacheen Littlefeather, 1973 Taking second place is Marlon Brando’s controversial speech in which he refused to accept the award for Best Actor for his iconic role in the Godfather.

Racking up 11.5 million views (11,527,208 to be exact), Brando’s award was refused in person by Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native American actress, who symbolized Brando’s protest against the offensive portrayal of Native Americans in film.

Earliest Google Trends data shows that in December 2004, when data first began to be collected, searches for the speech reached peak popularity of the term – suggesting early internet users were desperate to see the unprecedented protest. 

Watch Marlon Brando reject the Oscar here.

“We lost, by the way.” — Fred Berger, 2017 In fifth place is the memorable moment from the 88th Oscars in which La La Land was mistakenly awarded Best Picture in place of Moonlight. The mistake was soon rectified but not before the awkward moment when producer of La La Land, Fred Berger, took the envelope from the presenter’s hand and revealed its contents to the audience.

The shocking moment has been watched over 2,376,403 times and search volumes for Fred Berger saw an eye-watering 2300% increase between January and February when the Oscars took place, according to Google Trends.  

Watch the mix-up happen here.