11 Most Controversial Moments in Academy Awards History
Controversial Oscar Moments
F-bombs? Naked men? Huge mix-ups? Some of the most shocking things that ever happened at the Oscars -- and the reason for the time-delay!
The Streaker at the 1974 Oscars
The suave David Niven never lost his cool when a naked man streaked past him and flashed a peace sign. Niven responded, "probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings." The LA Times later suggested the entire stunt was *gasp* staged, including Niven's timely quip.
Brando Sends Sacheen Littlefeather To Refuse His Oscar
One of the most famous film performances of all time, Marlon Brando in "The Godfather," rightly earned him a Best Actor Oscar. Except Brando, who'd previously won Best Actor for "On the Waterfront," wasn't having it. He was a no-show at the 1973 Oscars and sent a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to refuse the award in protest of Hollywood's depiction of Native Americans. Her speech was met with confusion, jeers, and some cheers. It remains one of the oddest things to ever happen at the Oscars.
"La La Land" Mistakenly Named Best Picture
The biggest mix-up in Oscar history (for the biggest award of the night) had audiences -- especially Meryl Streep – gasping in 2017. The "La La Land" producers were already giving acceptance speeches when the correct envelope was found and producer Jordan Horowitz announced, "This is not a joke. 'Moonlight' has won Best Picture." Awkward as hell!
Vanessa Redgrave Gets Booed
When Redgrave won Best Supporting Actress for "Julia,” her speech decrying "Zionist thugs" resulted in possibly the first time a winner was met with boos. Later in the ceremony, presenter Paddy Chayefsky (who'd won the previous year for “Network”) received cheers when he said, "I'm sick and tired of people exploiting the occasion of the Academy Awards for the propagation of their own personal political propaganda."
Michael Moore Gets Political
After winning Best Documentary for "Bowling for Columbine" in 2003, Moore was nearly booed offstage when he began trashing then-President Bush over the "fictitious war" and "fictitious election results."
Was Marisa Tomei's Win a Mistake?
In 1993, after Marisa Tomei upset such heavy-hitting actresses as Vanessa Redgrave to win Best Supporting Actress (for a comedy, no less), a rumor persisted that last year's winner, Jack Palance, had simply read the wrong name. Now that we know what happens when a presenter makes a mistake, we can finally dismiss this condescending rumor. And Tomei has been nominated twice more since then. Suck it, haters.
Angelina Jolie Is 'So In Love With Her Brother'
Angelina Jolie (a Best Supporting Actress winner for "Girl, Interrupted") raised eyebrows in 2000 when she gushed during her acceptance speech, "I am so in love with my brother right now." Photos of her later kissing brother James Haven on the lips, along with her her Morticia Addams dress and hair, was considered rather “ooky.”
'Crash' Wins Best Picture
Even presenter Jack Nicholson was stunned when "Crash" won Best Picture over "Brokeback Mountain." Especially since Ang Lee (who directed "Brokeback") had just won Best Director. More than 10 years later, most people agree it's the absolutely worst movie to ever win Best Picture.
Melissa Leo Drops an F-Bomb
In an Oscar first, Melissa Leo (who'd just won Best Supporting Actress for "The Fighter"), covered her mouth in horror after realizing she'd said "f**k" on live TV in 2011.
Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins Get Banned
After speaking out at the 1993 Oscars about Haitian refugees, then-partners Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins got themselves temporarily banned from the ceremony. She returned to win Best Actress for 1995's "Dead Man Walking," which Robbins directed.
Jennifer Lopez's See-Through Top
Jennifer Lopez opted to wear a gauzy top with no bra to the 2001 Oscars, so whoever was operating the camera had to frame her very carefully. (She was there to present Best Original Song, which went to Bob Dylan for his tune from "Wonder Boys.")