VIDEO: A Decade of Oprah Moments
By Scott Harris Posted Dec 16th 2009 01:37PM
Jay Leno, for instance, owns a fleet of rare and vintage automobiles. John Travolta doesn't just own his own jet, he owns a Boeing 707. And Oprah Winfrey? Well, Oprah owns the decade.
The fact that Oprah has decided to end her legendary daytime talk show, 'Oprah Winfrey,' in 2012 after decades of ratings and cultural dominance just gives more weight to her accomplishments over the past ten years. While her ratings have recently fluctuated more than her weight, she's always responded with a new highlight that has had people buzzing online and around the water cooler. And while not every one of her best moments has been memorable for the right reasons, it's clear that perhaps no star has been as influential and central to mainstream American culture over the past ten years as Oprah Winfrey.
Without further ado, then, here's our look back at A Decade of Oprah Moments.
2004: With the nation in the midst of two ongoing wars, Oprah took a page out of the 'Price Is Right' playbook to brighten up the mood, giving every member of her audience a brand new car. The scream-inducing feel-good moment ("You Get a Car! You Get a Car! You Get a Car!) apparently didn't help sponsor GM much, but it did bring a smile to America for one day at least. Watch the 'You Get a Car!' Remix:
2005: Tom Cruise was arguably the biggest box office draw in the world when he decided to go on 'Oprah' to explain his relationship to the much younger Katie Holmes. By the time he was done bouncing on the couch life an over-caffeinated toddler, his career was in recovery mode and the tabloids were circling the blood in the water.
2005: For well over a decade, Oprah and fellow talk-show magnate David Letterman had indulged in an ongoing feud, sparked in part by Dave's infamously unfunny "Uma? Oprah." gag during the 1995 Academy Awards ceremony. But in 2005 they finally buried the hatchet, agreeing to appear on each other's shows and ending one of the rare -- if minor -- controversies in Oprah's distinguished careers.
2006: One of Oprah's biggest legacies is her book club, which introduced millions of viewers to modern classics of literature and almost single-handedly helped keep the publishing industry afloat. That, however, was all build-up to the moment when she confronted author James Frey for spinning yarns in his not-actually-a-memoir 'A Million Little Pieces.' The live beatdown she administered sparked a national debate over the ideas of truth and fiction in writing.
2008: Usually apolitical, in 2008 Oprah took the unusual step of publicly endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president. When he won, she appeared in the front row at his Chicago victory speech and got into the spirit of fellowship by using a random stranger as her crying pillow.
2008: Probably the biggest tabloid story of the decade was the ongoing relationship drama that swirled around Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. And right in the center of the whirlwind was Oprah, who, along with most of America, took Jen's side, allowing her to clear the air on national television.
2009: With ratings dipping for the first time in memory, Oprah stepped up her game with a series of headline-grabbing -- and controversial -- episodes to kick off the new season this year. Among those was this tell-all with actress Mackenzie Phillips, who discussed an unthinkable taboo when she talked about her relationship with her own father.
2009: Oprah's heir-in-waiting for the title of talk-show queen is likely Ellen DeGeneres. But far from being rivals, the two have become friends, which helps explain why Ellen and her wife Portia de Rossi allowed invited Winfrey to document their highly publicized wedding.
2009: Not all of Oprah's moments this decade have been feel good events. Some critics and fans believed her attempts to solidify her ratings went too far when she asked Charla Nash, who was savagely disfigured by a rogue chimp, to reveal her scarred features to the camera. Shocked viewers may not have appreciated the sensationalism, but there's not doubt people will remember it for years to come.
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