10 Memorable Mullets in Oscar Winning History

Posted Friday March 20, 2009 6:20 PM GMT

Have you ever seen a mullet that’s made you want to stand up and clap? No? Well, while you may be sitting on your comfortably high mullet-hating horse, the mullet has been earning a mysterious amount of respect elsewhere – at the Oscars. With the Oscars safely behind us, we thought now might be a good time to call attention to some of most memorable mullets in cinematic history. Put away your hair-dryers and enjoy.

10. Anil Kapoor in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)


It was this year’s loveable Oscar champion. The story of a young boy who takes on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” using only his street smarts. Slumdog wiped out the competition, winning for Best Cinematography, Directing,
Editing, Original Score, Original Song, Sound, Screenplay, and of course, Best Picture. But what really gets me excited is Bollywood star Anil Kapoor’s rendition of Regis Philbin, and his full head of luscious hair neatly sprayed into place. And he’s got just enough party in the back to let us know that he means business.

9. Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking (1995)


Susan Sarandon may have taken home the Oscar for this charming little movie about a nun who befriends an inmate on death row, but we have a sneaking suspicion that she was really only falling for his awesome head of hair. A bit more subdued than the average mullet (and a little bit more “Elvis”), Sean Penn still makes the grade. He was, after all, reaching for the trend from behind bars. Who knew they had so much hair gel available in prison?

8. Tom Cruise in Rain Man (1988)


In Rain Man, Tom Cruise plays a hustler/bookie named Charlie, who learns that the only thing standing between him and his deceased father’s fortune is his autistic brother, Raymond. The movie took home four Oscars in ’88, including Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman’s
portrayal of Raymond.

In true Tom Cruise style, Charlie embodies all that is high-strung, including what I like to refer to as the “High-Strung Mullet.” Primped for success, the High-Strung Mullet needs only a little hairspray to stay in place. It’s just the kind of flexibility a hustler needs from his hair – it can keep shape under the most stressful of situations, like for example, when trying to get your autistic brother onto an airplane.

7. Ted Levine in Silence of the Lambs (1991)


Who doesn’t remember Buffalo Bill? But do you remember his dangerously perfect mullet? Silence of the Lambs: the story about young FBI agent Clarice Starling, played by Jodie Foster, who seeks help from psychiatrist-turned-man-eating-psychopath Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in her hunt for serial killer, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). This crime thriller took home five Oscars - two for Hopkins and Foster, and three for Best Screenplay Adaptation, Best Director, and Best Picture. I’m not so much a fan of Buffalo Bill’s general desire to murder women, but man, that is one solid mullet. I wonder what kind of hair products he recommends?

6. Tom Hulce in Amadeus (1984)


It’s party time all the time for Mozart, played by Tom Hulce, in this
Academy Award winning (eight times over) feature. The film follows Mozart’s career through the eyes of his greatest admirer and nemesis, Antonio Salieri, played by F. Murray Abraham. If you’ve seen this picture, you’ll know that it takes a certain kind of crazy to be Mozart, and all of that crazy is reflected in his wide variety of mullet up-dos.

5. Christina Ricci in Monster (2003)


Bet you thought I was going to give this one to Charlize Theron. She did, after all, get the movie its single Oscar for her starring role, but her greasy locks just don’t make the cut. The real winner for best mullet in this picture is Christina Ricci. How else but through the warm and tender strength of that rarely washed mullet could Ricci’s character have wooed the vulnerable prostitute-turned-killer (Theron) into lesbianism? Behold the power of the “la femme mullet.”

4. Patrick Swayze in Ghost (1990)


This story about Sam Wheat’s (Swayze) unfortunate death and his ghost’s desire to stay behind to watch over his endangered fiancée ( Demi Moore) might be one of the greatest, if not strangest, love stories of all time. The movie took home an Oscar for Best Screenplay and handed one out to Whoopi Goldberg for Best Supporting Actress. While Sam’s devotion to his fiancée is heartwarming, his devotion to his hair has got to be even sweeter. So tamed, so healthy and glowing, so utterly strong and
protective in nature is Swayze’s mullet in this movie that you’d almost want to call it… heavenly. How fitting.

3. Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves (1990)


Ah, yes, the story of the Civil War hero ( Kevin Costner) who befriends a Native American tribe (and some wolves), gets renamed “Dances with Wolves,” and eventually faces the ultimate identity crisis when the American Army begins to advance on Native American soil. The film took home seven Oscars for Sound, Score, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Director, and Best Picture, and I’ll be darned if the mullet didn’t have something to do with it. Though Costner faces serious Native American competition for his steamy mullet tresses, he holds his own like a champ (and eventually, his mullet is accepted in as one of theirs). Does it make it even sweeter that one of the Natives is called “Wind In His Hair?” Yes. Yes, it absolutely does.

2. Danny McBride in Tropic Thunder (2008)


Alright, so Tropic Thunder didn’t walk away with the award, but Robert Downey Jr.’s Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in this comic flick about an action movie gone wrong is good enough to make the cut (so says I). Besides, Danny McBride’s portrayal of Special Effects madman Cody depicts perfectly what I like to call “The All-American, Modern Day Mullet.” There’s nothing that doesn’t scream “party” about McBride’s shaved-out mohawk mullet. You don’t even have to talk to the guy to know that his favorite activities include beer, pizza, shaving lightning into the sides of his head, and blowing s*** up. And what freedom-loving American doesn’t dig that?

1. Mel Gibson in Braveheart (1995)


It’s Scotland against the invasion of England in this heart-pumping period drama that follows William Wallace ( Mel Gibson) as he leads the Scottish to freedom from the talons of tyranny. This epic war story classic won five Academy Awards, including Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Make-Up (we love that war paint), Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Picture. We’d now like to give it another: Best Mullet. Who would have thought that the most honorable hero of Scotland could have been sporting the most wicked mullet we’ve seen since circa 14th Century? There is no mullet more raw, more tortured, and more full of ticks, fleas, and sporadic little braids than that of William Wallace. Gibson, you did us proud.

Honorable mentions go to:




Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys (1987), Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise (1991), and Mel Gibson in pretty much any Lethal Weapon.

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