Top 20 Celebrity Audience Reactions

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher & Nathan Sharp
For better or worse, these audience reactions are guaranteed to entertain. For this list, we're looking at the funniest, sweetest and most memorable reactions that celebs have had during award shows. Our countdown includes Justin Timberlake, Hugh Jackman, Natasha Lyonne, Tom Hanks, Jay-Z, and more!

Top 20 Celebrity Audience Reactions

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 20 Celebrity Audience Reactions.

For this list, we’re looking at the funniest, sweetest and most memorable reactions that celebs have had during award shows. We’re excluding any that were planned bits and sticking to authentic reactions.

Which reaction is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

#20: P!nk

“45th Annual American Music Awards” (2017)
At the 2017 AMAs, Christina Aguilera performed a touching tribute to the late Whitney Houston. When the camera panned to get audience reactions, they honed in on Pink, who has in the past had beef with Aguilera. In one screenshot, it appears as though Pink is grimacing and after the show, the internet went wild with accusations of their feud being reignited. If you watch the full video, it’s clear that Pink is not only enjoying the performance, but is actually singing along. She jumped on Twitter to quash the rumors so hopefully this whole thing has been debunked.

#19: Multiple Reactions to Tom Hiddleston

“74th Annual Golden Globe Awards” (2017)
In January of 2017, actor Tom Hiddleston took home a Golden Globe award for his role in “The Night Manager”. The speech he made after accepting the honor however, rubbed people the wrong way. He gave what many would call a self-congratulatory speech, patting himself on the back for providing “relief and entertainment” for Doctors Without Borders in South Sudan. The audience reactions were understandably unimpressed, particularly Christian Slater, whose perplexed gaze went on to become a hilarious meme.

#18: Justin Timberlake

“20th Annual MTV Video Music Awards” (2003)
The 2003 VMAs were truly one for the books, with one of the show’s most controversial moments ever taking place on stage. Madonna was performing with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera in an epic pop princess mashup. In a move that we doubt anyone would bat an eyelash at today, Madonna first kissed Britney, then Christina midway through one of their songs. In one of the most awkward moments in television history, the camera quickly panned to Britney’s ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake who surprisingly managed to keep a straight face. We can only imagine what must have been going through his mind!

#17: Multiple Reactions to Sean Spicer

“69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” (2017)
At the Emmys in September of 2017, the producers decided to arrange a guest appearance that was guaranteed to stir up some controversy. Recently resigned White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, rolled in with his signature podium, causing a flurry of shocked reactions among the famous audience members. Some thought his appearance was expressly unfunny, and Melissa McCarthy, who famously played Spicer on SNL, definitely didn’t seem amused. Anna Chlumsky of HBO’s political comedy, “Veep”, had a reaction that will definitely be used for memes in posterity.

#16: Tommy Lee Jones

“70th Annual Golden Globe Awards” (2013)
Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig were charged with handing out an award at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards, and from the moment they stepped on stage together we knew it was going to be hilarious. Most of the reactions during their bit where they went through each nominee’s performance featured uproarious laughter but there was one notable exception. When they started talking about the film “Hope Springs”, Tommy Lee Jones did not seem to be in on the joke, and presented the camera with quite the scowl.

#15: Leonardo DiCaprio

“73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards” (2016)
In 2016, Lady Gaga, who is known more for her singing skills than her acting chops, took home a Golden Globe award for her role in “American Horror Story: Hotel”. The multitalented performer was clearly emotional during her acceptance speech, but the thing that everyone was buzzing about actually took place before she even got on stage. As she walked through the crowd on her way to accept the award, she brushed past Leonardo DiCaprio, and the actor’s startled reaction was one for the books.

#14: Taylor Swift

“56th Annual Grammy Awards” (2014)
Taylor Swift has definitely had some memorable awards show moments, and while this one is more subtle, it still makes us cringe. At the 2014 Grammys, Swift’s album “Red” was up for Album of the Year alongside Daft Punk’s record, “Random Access Memories”. When the presenter announced the winner, they dragged their R a little bit long, giving Swift just enough time to think she had won when in fact Daft Punk was taking home the award. She had a slightly cattier reaction at the 2013 VMAs when she seemed to mouth the words “shut the f*ck up” while One Direction was on stage.

#13: Beyoncé

“26th Annual MTV Video Music Awards” (2009)
This moment will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most memorable awards show moments of all time. You probably know the story, but here’s a little refresher. At the 2009 VMAs, Kanye jumped on stage while Taylor Swift was accepting her award and interrupted her speech with his memorable “Imma let you finish” monologue where he extolled the virtues of Beyonce’s video which had been running in the same category. Judging by her reaction, Queen Bey did not approve this message.

#12: Chrissy Teigen

“72nd Golden Globe Awards” (2015)
They’re one of the cutest couples in Hollywood, so it should come as no surprise that Chrissy Teigen’s reaction to her hubby John Legend’s Golden Globe win made her have some serious feels. Legend and Common were nominated in the category of Best Original Song for their work on the film “Selma”. When they went up to accept the award, Teigen’s face betrayed just how proud she was of her partner. Her cry face quickly became a meme, but she wasn’t embarrassed, posting on Twitter that she didn’t bother practicing it.

#11: Meryl Streep

“21st Screen Actors Guild Awards” (2015)
Meryl Streep is pretty much queen of everything and audience reactions are no exception. This reaction, which was turned into a popular meme, is now tinged with sadness. At the 2015 SAG Awards, actress Debbie Reynolds was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by her daughter, Carrie Fisher. The following year, both mother and daugher would pass away. But it’s Streep’s enthusiastic hollering that brings a bright spot to a now melancholic moment. Can you make sure to attend every awards show from here on, Meryl?

#10: Tom Hanks

“77th Golden Globe Awards” (2020)

The 2020 Golden Globe Awards belonged to Tom Hanks. Not only was he the recipient of the honorary Cecil B. DeMille award, but his facial reactions were instantly gif-able and meme-worthy. The first one came after Ricky Gervais joked about Felicity Huffman making a licence plate in jail – aaaand cut to Tom staring at the stage with mouth agape. The second came after Gervais’s long rant about celebrity hypocrisy and political statements. While Gervais sipped his beer, Tom just sat there with a hilarious reaction that essentially said, “Well then!” And another celebrity with a strong reaction on the night has to be Jonathan Pryce, who looked pretty pissed off after Gervais made a joke about The Two Popes.

#9: James Earl Jones

“66th Tony Awards” (2012)

It must be hard having the same first name as the actual winner! At the 66th Tony Awards, both James Earl Jones and James Corden were nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play. Once the name “James” was read, James Earl Jones was visibly shocked, widening his eyes and opening his mouth in surprise. Various people have interpreted this reaction in different ways. Some think it is a look of disappointment and shock. Others think it was a look of surprise as he briefly thought that he had won without expecting to do so. Either way, it’s a hilarious reaction that many viewers were quick to point out and enjoy.

#8: Natasha Lyonne

“71st Primetime Emmy Awards” (2019)

The Internet really will make fun of anything. Viewers immediately recognized Natasha Lyonne’s bizarre way of clapping at the Emmys, as she essentially kept her fingers rigid and slapped her palms together. People on Twitter were quick to make jokes, and some even commented on its similarity to Nicole Kidman’s seal-like clapping from the 2017 Oscars. It’s all harmless fun, but seriously, what is with these celebrities not knowing how to clap!? Unfortunately, Lyonne failed to win for either Lead Actress in a Comedy or Outstanding Writing. But she still won the night in the Internet’s eyes. Just…not in the way she probably wanted.

#7: Martin Scorsese

“77th Golden Globe Awards” (2020)

We love it when celebrities go along with a joke. Case in point – Martin Scorsese at the 77th Golden Globe Awards. Gervais mentioned Scorsese’s infamous comments about Marvel movies being like fun but mindless theme park rides. He then asked what Scorsese is doing at theme parks, because he is too short to go on any of the rides. The camera then cut to Scorsese, who could be seen laughing in jest and saying “It’s true” to those around him. You see? At least some people were having a good time with Gervais! Granted, this was probably the least offensive joke Gervais told all night…

#6: Jay-Z

“57th Annual Grammy Awards” (2015)

That whole Taylor Swift-Kanye West debacle really left a mark, didn’t it? Once Beck beat Beyoncé for Album of the Year, Kanye West briefly leapt on stage and made towards the microphone, an obvious reference to the infamous Taylor Swift we discussed earlier. Beyoncé took it in stride, simply tilting her head and seemingly yelling, “No, Kanye, no!” like a parent playfully admonishing a child. But Jay-Z was stressed when he saw Kanye approaching the stage, and all he could do was stare at his friend, open-mouthed in shock. It’s a great “Oh no, not this again” face, though when Kanye quickly came off, Jay-Z was all smiles and laughter again.

#5: Tori Kelly

“58th Annual Grammy Awards” (2016)

The following year’s Grammy Awards also had a fantastic reaction shot. However, it was perhaps misinterpreted and read into a little too much. While Taylor Swift was accepting the Album of the Year award for “1989”, the camera cut to Tori Kelly, who was sitting with a particularly sour or disgusted look on her face. Seriously, that look is like something you’d see in a teen movie when the school jerk is watching the hero win an award! Social media was quick to notice the look and speculate the reason behind it, but Tori later tweeted that she “loved every moment” of the show. Did everyone read too much into her face, or was Tori just spouting basic PR talk? You be the judge.

#4: Hugh Jackman

“75th Golden Globe Awards” (2018)

And now for one of the most memed moments in award show history! And it belongs to none other than Hugh Jackman. While James Franco was accepting the award for Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and giving his speech, the camera cut to Jackman - and thousands of memes were born. Jackman’s expression is hard to gauge, as it’s seemingly stuck between confusion, bewilderment, shock, and speechless wonder. Some viewers thought he was shocked over not winning the award, but he was also seen clapping and smiling, so we don’t think that’s it. Either way, it was a hilarious and instantly gif-able face that completely took over the Internet.

#3: Rihanna

“30th MTV Video Music Awards” (2013)

The 2013 VMAs are infamous for two reasons – namely, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. The duo performed a highly provocative rendition of “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines,” complete with a skin-colored latex outfit, foam finger, tongues and all the twerking you could imagine. The response was immediately hostile, but one only needed to look at the audience reactions to gauge the impending storm. Mostly everyone looked either disgusted or bored, although there was some cheering, but the best reaction belonged to Rihanna. She couldn’t look more unimpressed, as she sat there without moving or dancing, with a hilariously tranquil look on her face. We only see it for a second, but the utterly bored look speaks volumes.

#2: Brendan Fraser

“67th Golden Globe Awards” (2010)

Sorry Natasha Lyonne, but when it comes to weird clapping, Brendan Fraser is the undisputed champ. While Martin Scorsese was earning an award, the camera cut to Brendan, who did a really weird clap that is simply beyond explanation. As you can imagine, the reaction was instantly memed, gif-ed, and remixed by the denizens of the Internet and quickly entered award show legend. He later explained on “Lopez Tonight” that he knew he was being filmed and essentially panicked somewhat, not knowing how to properly react. It was hilarious, but it’s also weirdly sweet, human, and relatable. No worries, Brendan! You do you.

#1: Willem Dafoe

“75th Golden Globe Awards” (2018)

The 2018 Golden Globes landed right in the initial midst of the #MeToo movement. As you can imagine, the night was tense and rife with related jokes. And Willem Dafoe was caught in the middle when Seth Meyers riffed on this topic and asked, “Did you hear about Willem Dafoe?” Not knowing what Meyers was about to say, and shocked, Dafoe widened his eyes in wild and anxious befuddlement before realizing what was going on and then covering his mouth and laughing. Granted, we can’t fully tell from the timing of the cutaway whether Dafoe was actually playing it up at all or not, but he went full Green Goblin for a second there.