If you thought Adam Lambert’s crotch-grabbing onstage sexcapade at Sunday night’s American Music Awards was gay, take a walk down memory lane as Advocate.com remembers some of the gayest moments in awards-show history, from the good (Tom Hanks accepting the Oscar for his work in Philadelphia) to the bad (Rob Lowe and Snow White singing “Proud Mary”) to the downright ugly (Diana Ross grabs hold of Lil’ Kim’s exposed breast).
Watch the videos on the following pages.
Hugh Jackman Sings "One Night Only" From Dreamgirls
2004 Tony Awards
The Boy From Oz shows some soul with "One Night Only" from Dreamgirls to open the 2004 Tony Awards. The showstopper involves backup singers, Rockettes, and some seriously impressive high kicks.
Melissa Etheridge & Joss Stone Sing “Piece of My Heart”
2005 Grammy Awards
A soulful Joss Stone explodes on the stage alongside cancer-recovering Melissa Etheridge to honor music legend Janis Joplin. The performance has gone down in history as Etheridge at her finest.
Brüno's Crotch Lands on Eminem's Face
2009 MTV Movie Awards
Sacha Baron Cohen, as controversial character Brüno, drops from the sky to make a grand entrance. In the process, he ends up on Eminem's face, in a moment that had people wondering whether it was staged — and if anything had landed in the rapper's mouth.
Susan Lucci Finally Wins an Emmy
1999 Daytime Emmy Awards
After being nominated 18 times for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama without a win, All My Children’s Susan Lucci proved 19 in her lucky number when she finally won in 1999. Rosie O’Donnell was shown sobbing in the audience and Oprah Winfrey rushed the stage screaming Lucci’s name. The “queen of daytime” took her time thanking the crowd, saying, “I truly never believed that this would happen.”
Cher, Tina Turner and Elton John Perform “Proud Mary”
1999 Divas Live
With Elton John on piano, Cher and Tina Turner brought down the house at 1999’s Divas Live. As if the two diva’s spinning around the stage to Turner’s original choreography weren’t gay enough, Susan Lucci is shown repeatedly throughout the performance dancing up and down the aisles.
Original Broadway Cast of Rent Reunites
2008 Tony Awards
In 2008 the original Broadway cast of Rent reunited at the Tony Awards to pay tribute to the musical, which forever changed the face of theater in New York. The cast (including real-life couple Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs, who met making the show) paid tribute to the show’s creator, Jonathan Larson, who died before its Broadway premiere, and sang Rent’s signature song, “Seasons of Love.”
Tom Hanks Wins an Oscar for Philadelphia
1994 Academy Awards
Tom Hanks’s Oscar acceptance speech for playing a gay man dying of AIDS in Philadelphia will probably always be remembered as the speech in which he inadvertently outed his high school drama teacher. But the straight, A-list actor did more for gay rights and AIDS awareness with that speech than any awards-show moment had managed before.
Rob Lowe’s Duet With Snow White
1989 Academy Awards
Naturally with Allan Carr, flamboyant producer of the horrific Can’t Stop the Music, at the helm, the opening number of the 1989 Oscars promised to be the campiest in the show’s annals. But when Merv Griffin introduced Snow White to her blind date Rob Lowe — followed by a torturous rendition of “Proud Mary” — it went from embarrassing to painful, prompting Academy members such as Julie Andrews and Paul Newman to write letters of complaint.
Dolly Parton Singing “Travelin’ Thru”
2006 Academy Awards
Beloved music superstar Dolly Parton did her gay fans proud by contributing the theme song to Transamerica, the pre-op transsexual road-trip movie, and got some love from the Academy in the process. Parton didn’t win the award, but she earned the unconditional respect of the LGBT community.
Diana Ross Cops a Feel of Lil' Kim
1999 MTV Video Music Awards
Lil’ Kim turned heads at the 1999 Video Music Awards when she walked the red carpet in a purple sequined pantsuit that left one boob exposed. When presenting an award alongside singers Diana Ross and Mary J. Blige, Ross decided to greet the petite rapper not by shaking her hand but by jiggling her pasty-covered breast.
Cherry Jones Wins the Tony
2005 Tony Awards
Ultimate class act Cherry Jones accepts the Tony for best actress in 2005 for her role in Doubt, beating out faves Mary-Louise Parker and Kathleen Turner. But it's her passionate lip lock with then-girlfriend Sarah Paulson that made this an awards speech to remember.
Madonna Makes Out with Britney and Christina
2003 MTV Video Music Awards
To open the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna locked lips with and slipped tongue to both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera as the trio sang along to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and “Hollywood.” After the now infamous
kiss, rapper Missy Elliott joined the girls onstage to round out the all-female love fest.
Dustin Lance Black Wins the Oscar for Milk
2009 Academy Awards
In the accepting the Oscar for best screenwriter in 2009, Milk’s Dustin Lance Black delivered a heartfelt speech about growing up gay in a conservative Mormon home. The emotional writer concluded with a promise to win equal rights and a thank-you to Harvey Milk.
Cheyenne Jackson and the Cast of Xanadu Perform
2008 Tony Awards
The cast of Xanadu, a nominee for best musical, perform “Don’t Walk Away” at the 2008 Tony Awards, but if we’re adding up the queer quotient, stand back. We’ve got (1) an introduction by Lily Tomlin, (2) music by the Electric Light Orchestra, (3) hunky Cheyenne Jackson and his tree-trunk thighs in ripped denim, (4) Kerry Butler as Olivia Newton-John as Kira on roller skates, and (5) Cheyenne Jackson and his thighs. Did we mention Cheyenne’s thighs?