From The Exorcist to 127 Hours, the 9 Most Shocking Scenes In Oscar-Nominated Roles

Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction
Oscar nominee Thurman didn’t have to do much when she faced off with that epic needle in Pulp Fiction. No, it’s left to the audience to react as the unconscious Mia is stabbed in the heart with a syringe full of adrenaline. The chest stab got our adrenaline going, too, and collectively we couldn’t shut up about it for months on end.

Edward Norton, American History X
Audiences fixated on the curb stomp by a neo-Nazi losing his grip, and for good reason. It’s disturbing on a cellular level, and hard to think about it without physically recoiling. The tense buildup — with Edward Furlong’s slow-mo “nooooooo!” — is awful. The sound of the stomp is awful. Norton coming unhinged (no pun intended) is awful. But clearly it’s a powerful kind of awful since it’s still such a vivid memory 13 years later.

Warning: This clip is especially disturbing and NSFW

Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Usually when actors drop the word “vulnerable,” it’s in reference to their emotional state. In his 2005 Russian mob thriller, David Cronenberg had Mortensen stark naked while fending off a knife attack by two psychos in a bath house. The ingenuity and bravery of the scene makes us stand in awe at Mortensen, not only for being so exposed during the fight, but also for the many tattoos adorning his body. The makeup chair was probably no picnic either.

Warning: This is the only version of said fight scene available. Enjoy!

James Franco, 127 Hours
The newest scene best watched through the fingers comes courtesy of the nominee who ended up co-hosting the 2011 Oscars and inspiring observations like “I’d rather cut my arm off than sit through the rest of this telecast.” Nausea warnings went out to moviegoers after some fainting spells in early screenings. When Franco, as doomed hiker Aron Ralston, breaks his arm and slices through it, forget the wound itself; Franco’s wincing blood-smeared face is all it takes to grasp the horror of the whole ordeal.

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  • forever1267 says:

    I was a manager at AMC Galleria in St. Louis when "Pulp Fiction" came out. We had 2 chokings, a fainting, and a heart attack as a direct result of that scene. Customers were freaking out from that movie... and LOVING it.

    In other news, Viggo, you are so hot naked knife fighting!

  • Violet says:

    I’ve been wondering about the similar point myself recently. Glad to see somebody on the same wavelength! Nice article.

  • The ill-intentioned Toxic substances Launch in and was just stunned that this lovely device was not more easily known.