The Oscars are the film industry’s most prestigious awards, but amidst all the glitz and glamour, there have been a few gaffes at the awards shows. Here we show you the 9 biggest upsets, missteps and scandals in Oscar history.
The 9 biggest Oscar scandals
Despite the annual drop in ratings, the Academy Awards are still the ultimate in the film industry – the award ceremony pulls many of the most famous and successful stars in front of and behind the camera at. But while every triumph is deservedly celebrated on stage in Los Angeles, the excitement often lingers longer – like these 9 unforgettable Oscar scandals.
After the Oscars 2022 there was really only one topic of conversation: The Slap. Comedian Chris Rock was set to hand out the Best Documentary award when he cracked a joke about Will Smith’s wife Jada-Pinkett Smith’s hair loss – but it crossed a line for the Independence Day star. Smith first clearly vented his indignation, then stormed the stage and gave Rock a heavy bang. Curiously, Smith was allowed to return to the stage later in the evening when he picked up the Oscar for best actor for his role in King Richard.
South Park duo Matt Stone and Trey Parker drew attention on the red carpet at the 2000 Oscars. Parker was nominated for Best Song for “Blame Canada” from the South Park film. Together, the two appeared at the ceremony in evening dresses and had I also threw in some LSD for the occasion. The video excerpts clearly show that they had a lot of fun during their performance. However, the effects of the LSD wore off during the ceremony, which, according to Parker, hurt doubly because now they had to endure the Oscars sober.
(Source: Blotter Art, YouTube)
Singer and actress Idina Menzel is known for her Broadway performances and known as the voice of Elsa in Frozen. In 2014, however, John Travolta’s name was not yet burned into her memory. Because when he called her on stage for a performance of Disney catchy Let It Go, he embarrassingly but very confidently announced her as Adele Dazeem.
(Source: Headline News, YouTube)
Marlon Brando won the 1973 Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Godfather – but he boycotted the event and took his place Sacheen Littlefeather took the stage and declined the award. Brando and Littlefeather took a stand against the negative depictions of Native Americans in Hollywood films.
(Source: Oscars, YouTube)
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is known for his often adolescent anarchic humor – and when he hosted the Oscars in 2013, he showed it in no uncertain terms. While some of his jokes resonated with audiences and others didn’t, it was his song “We Saw Your Boobs” that sparked conversation afterwards. In it MacFarlane sang at length, in which films various Hollywood actresses have already been stripped have. In particular, the dig at Scarlett Johansson’s involuntarily leaked nude photos went a step too far.
(Source: Random Access Memes, YouTube)
At the 2017 Academy Awards, audiences eagerly awaited who would take home the Academy Award for Best Picture. When Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway opened the envelope, they announced the result: La La Land won. It wasn’t until after the film’s crew got on stage that word slowly got around that that the envelopes had been switched — in fact, Moonlight had won the award. The La La Land crew took it with composure, but it was still a moment of shame for all spectators.
(Source: Eyewitness News, YouTube)
When the 2015 Oscar nominations were released, activist April Reign launched the hashtag OscarsSoWhite to denounce the event’s lack of diversity, as all the nominated actors were white. Although the hashtag attracted a lot of media attention, the same game was repeated at the 2016 Oscars. While that hasn’t happened since then, diversity and representation are of course issues that the Oscars and the film industry as a whole need to work on.
When actor David Niven stood on the podium in 1974 to announce Elizabeth Taylor, photographer Robert Opel ran naked across the stage behind him – an action that Niven dryly commented on with a joke about Opel’s shortcomings.
The Oscars are still a big topic of conversation every year because they can be so well argued about and some winners have had a lot of headwind. Many film fans still regret that LA Crash took the 2006 award instead of Brokeback Mountain, or that Green Book went home with the 2019 Academy Award. However, controversies of this kind are by no means just a modern phenomenon, since 1942 was already Citizen Kane is still considered by many to be the best film of all time simply passed over at the award ceremony.