The Steamiest Oscar-Nominated Sex Scenes of All Time

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Unless you've been living without network television and/or the Internet for the past month, you're probably fully aware that it's awards show season. Either you've spent hours glued to a screen to see who will be arbitrarily immortalized in front of their industry peers, or you're painfully annoyed by everyone else talking about it.

But you don't need to be into award shows to like a little on-screen, ahem, romance. So here's a look back at the steamiest sex scenes from Oscar-nominated movies over the years.

Shakespeare in Love
These days, she might be better known as Pepper Potts in the Iron Man and the ex-wife of the dude from Coldplay, but 18 years ago, Gwyneth Paltrow found herself in a fantastic sex scene as William Shakespeare's fictional romantic muse. Of course, they're both married (or due to get married) to someone else in the movie, but aren't the best sex scenes the adulterous ones? 

Monster's Ball
If really messed up love stories are your thing, you probably know that the 2001 flick is among the best out there. Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) and Leticia's (Halle Berry) romance is built on poverty, death, eviction, and awkwardly amazing sex. It's the kind of film that inspired many of the Berry' hip-hop mentions in the 15 years that followed.

American Beauty
One thing that Hollywood has proven over and over again is that Kevin Spacey is best when he's playing a total creep. That's never clearer than in American Beauty, where Spacey's character becomes obsessed with and begins fantasizing about his teenage daughter's high school friend. The fantasies are weird, but not as disturbing as watching Spacey jerk off. We still can't look at rose petals the same way.

Brokeback Mountain
Gay, straight, or anywhere in between, Brokeback Mountain has sex scenes for you. Aside from being one of the best love stories in recent memory to revolve around two failed marriages, the 2005 film also broke down barriers and set a new standard for how much (and what types) of sexuality you could show and still be considered a great work of art. These days, it looks tame compared to what goes on in Game of Thrones.

When remembering the sex scene in Titanic, there's one shot that stands out above all others. Without that hand on the glass, it would be pretty mediocre at best, just another three-hour movie with a frustrating ending. For a hookup that good, you'd think she'd be able to muster up the adrenaline to blow a whistle, no matter how cold it was.

The only movie on this list that you'll see at this year's Oscars is Brooklyn. The movie's sex scene is more of the old romance variety than anything particularly graphic and raunchy. It's a tale of love and immigration — and all of your artsy hipster friends are obsessed. Saoirse Ronan's star is rising, and considering how many times she's gone on record saying she doesn't mind sex scenes, we just might see more of her in the future.

The Wolf of Wall Street
Among recent Oscar nominees, The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the most explicit. While Leo might not be the young dreamboat he was in Titanic, watching him delve into drugs and women for a good portion of the film was way hotter than some of the emotional dramas that tend to earn nods at the Oscars. Unless the Joker and Harley Quinn unexpectedly get it on in Suicide Squad, it just might be the defining sexual moment of Margot Robbie's career.

Black Swan
Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis get down with each other. Is there anything else you really need to know?

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
After No Country for Old Men, it seemed like Javier Bardem needed a serious makeover if he was ever going to play a romantic interest in a film. Then Vicky Cristina Barcelona came out and people forgot all about how creepy he was with that terrible haircut. Actually, all you really have to remember from that movie is aside from sexy scenes involving him, Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz also have a moment of their own. 

The English Patient
Do you like your sex served with a side of depression and unnecessary deaths? Then Best Picture winner The English Patient is for you. These days, you probably wouldn't want to see actors like Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas have an affair with each other. But 20 years ago? Yes, please. 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.