Wayback: 5 surprises, shocks, and scandals from the 1990s

Entertainment The List
By: Frenchie Aguilh Posted: 2:03 PM, Mar 23, 2017

When we get nostalgia for the '90s we often think about the cool clothes, the adorable boy bands, and the hilarious TV shows we watched with our Bagel Bites. But do you remember some of the biggest stories in pop culture from back then? Brush up on your throwback trivia this Wayback Wednesday and see if you can recall some events in the '90s that made us go "say what?", "that's bogus!", and "Oh, no you didn't!"

1. Surprise: Titanic Sweeps The Oscars, '98

James Cameron once said that he felt audiences were eager to see a romantic and historic story because no one had created one in a while. He must have been right because Titanic became one of the biggest movies in film and box office history. All that success led to 14 Oscar noms, tying the record set by the 1950 film All About Eve. And on Oscar Night, Titanic won 11 out of their 14 nominated categories, tying with 1959's Ben-Hur for the most Oscars won by one film, ever. The only other movie to join the most Oscars won club? The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2004, also with 11 awards.

2. Scandal: Harding on Thin Ice, '94

During preparations for the 94 Olympic Games, ice skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed above her landing leg's knee by an assailant and she couldn't skate in the world championship competition. With her injury sidelining her, Tonya Harding (who happened to place behind Kerrigan in the 1992 Olympic Games) went on to place first in the world championship competition. Later, it was revealed that the man who attacked her was hired by Tonya Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, which opened the door to some questions about Tonya's involvement and eventually got all of her titles stripped by the US Figure Skating Association.

3. Shock: George Clooney Leaves ER, '99

After being on the show since 1994, lifelong heartthrob George Clooney left the hit show ER, much to the sadness and ugly crying of fans that loved him. But Clooney was looking to get into more features at the time, and couldn't split his schedule between filming full length films and working on ER. The actor said that at one point he was working 1-2 days a week on the hospital drama and 3-5 days on the set of Batman and Robin and while he might've been young guy, it was a little tough to juggle.

4. Surprise: Ellen DeGeneres Comes Out, '97

In 1996, word leaked that the main character of Ellen DeGeneres' sitcom Ellen might come out as gay on an episode of the show, making it the first prime time sitcom with a gay leading character. A week before the episode premiered, DeGeneres was featured on the cover of TIME magazine under the headline "Yep, I'm Gay", and interviewed with Diane Sawyer to confirm. An estimated 42 million viewers watched the hour long episode when it debuted, and while Ellen was canceled in 1997, DeGeneres became a household name and a role model for the LGBTQ community.

5: Surprise: Y2-Kay, Nevermind, '99

Did you batten down the hatches for Y2K? You weren't the only one. The fear that unpredictable things would happen to our computers and electronics threw the country into a frenzy as no one knew how our digital products would adapt from their normal ways of tracking dates (MM/DD/YY) to a new way of tracking dates in the new 2000 era. Some even feared that our electronics would flip back to 1900 instead of moving forward and mess with everything from tech industry, to the economy, even to national security. Some people even thought it was the end of the world! But when January 1st, 2000 rolled around, minor glitches or crashes appeared around a few companies around the globe, but that was about it. 

What big stories from the '90s do you remember as clear as day? Join the conversation on our Facebook page, @TheListShowTV.