Oh, the sweeping grandeur that is the Oscars. From the magical dresses to the pretty, shiny trophies, it is a spectacle we entertainment lovers anxiously await every year. But let’s be real; we don’t tune in to hear A-listers thank Steven Spielberg and their parents. We tune in for those unexpected moments when, overcome with emotions, we get a glimpse at a celebrity’s heart… if they have one, that is.
And when it comes to Oscar tears, it’s a tricky business because, well, they are actors. So are the tears genuine moments of heartfelt emotion? Or just acting tricks from the pros who know how to turn it on. We may never know.
Either way, the moments overcome with emotion have led to some pretty amazing GIFs and iconic moments movie history will never forget.
Check out all the noteworthy Oscar ugly cries below.
1. Gwyneth Paltrow in her Best Actress acceptance speech for Shakespeare in Love
Maybe the most notorious Oscar ugly cry, Paltrow couldn’t contain herself after accepting her award for Best Actress for her performance in Shakespeare in Love, especially when she started talking about her family.
2. Octavia Spencer when she won Best Supporting Actress for The Help
“I’m sorry. I’m freaking out right now,” Spencer said during her speech as she accepted her Oscar in 2012 for her performance in the then-heavily nominated film The Help. It was Spencer’s first major win and that nomination preceded numerous nominations for her in the ensuing years (including her nomination this year for The Shape of Water). The tears were plentiful and the emotions were real as Spencer gave her thanks; it was hard not to get a little misty-eyed watching it all unfold!
3. Chris Pine crying while listening to Common and John Legend perform “Glory”
OK, so this one definitely wasn’t an ugly cry. It was a gorgeous-Chris-Pine-single-tear-falling-down-his-chiseled-cheek cry. But that didn’t stop it from becoming one of the most iconic Oscar cries of all time.
And Pine even told James Corden on the Late Late Show that he got a lot of crap for the tears.
“It was a wonderful performance, and it was really moving,” Pine said, defending his reaction. “And a lot of people gave me a lot of crap for it — a single tear.”
4. Sally Field when she won Best Actress for Places in the Heart
Field was nearly hysterical in her Best Actress acceptance speech in 1984. She infamously yelled, “You like me, right now, you like me,” which has morphed over the years into the well-known phrase, “You like me, you really like me.”
5. Halle Berry when she won Best Actress for Monster’s Ball
Berry was so overcome with emotion she just cried and said, “Oh, my God,” for a solid 30 seconds before beginning her speech by saying, “I’m sorry. This moment is so much bigger than me.” She is the only black woman to have won the Best Actress award.
6. Charlize Theron in her Best Actress acceptance speech for Monster
Charlize Theron may have been nearly unrecognizable in her role in Monster, but she pulled a 180 when she showed up on the red carpet for the Oscars in 2004 looking absolutely stunning. Of course, that doesn’t mean girlfriend doesn’t know how to get her ugly cry on. After winning, she got up onstage and, just as confidently as she transformed for Monster, she let those tears free-fall.
7. Daniel Day-Lewis when he won Best Actor for Lincoln
Day-Lewis won his third academy award for Best Actor for his work as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, but that didn’t mean it was any less meaningful. In fact, Day-Lewis struggled to keep it together as he said, “I really don’t know how any of this happened. I do know that I have received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life.”
8. Nicole Kidman when she won Best Actress for The Hours
Nicole Kidman was so overcome with emotion she had to turn her back for a moment during her Best Actress acceptance speech. “Oh! Russell Crowe said, ‘Don’t cry if you get up there,’ and now I’m crying,” Kidman said before composing herself.