The Academy Awards have been running for over 95 years, so it comes as no surprise that we have witnessed plenty of controversial moments on stage. The infamous ‘’Slap Incident’’ will undoubtedly be remembered for decades to come. But who could forget the cringeworthy moment in 2017, when La La Land was mistakenly proclaimed the Best Film winner instead of Moonlight?
In anticipation of the Oscars on March 12th, let’s recall some of the most outrageous moments in the Oscars’ history.
Chris Rock’s Oscar remark on Jada Pinkett Smith wasn’t his first controversy. The lack of a single nomination for a Black actor in 2015 sparked the social media campaign #OscarsSoWhite with many stars boycotting the show. Chris Rock, the host for that year, delivered a 10-minute monologue in which he vented his frustration.
Marlon Brando refused the Oscars
Speaking of boycotts; Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his performance in The Godfather in 1971, but the actor decided to boycott the event in protest of how Native Americans were portrayed in Hollywood.
Instead, he sent actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather to the stage, where she delivered an emotional speech defending Native American rights.
Angeline Jolie’s incest remark
Angelina Jolie stunned audiences and fans during her best supporting actress victory speech for Girl, Interrupted in 2000, saying, “I’m in shock and I’m so in love with my brother right now.” The siblings were later photographed in a notorious lip-locking session.
Sacha Baron spills Kim Jong-il’s ashes
Sacha Baron Cohen was removed from the Oscars following a controversial PR stunt in 2012 to advertise his film The Dictator. The British actor came to the opulent event dressed as dictator General Aladeen while pretending to carry the ‘ashes’ of former North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il.
He then acts as if he accidentally tripped and spilled the ‘ashes’ all over Ryan Seacrest, shouting, ‘’Now when people ask what you’re wearing, you will say Kim Jong-il!’’
Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn tie
Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn both scored 3,030 votes in 1969, tying them for Best Actress. The Academy opted to divide the award between the two actresses, with Hepburn winning for Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter and Streisand receiving for her debut in Funny Girl. However, Audrey was not in attendance, allowing Barbra to accepted it alone.
Adrien Brody kisses Halle Berry
Halle Berry presented the award to Adrien Brody during his 2003 Academy Awards wins. Upon receiving it, he grabbed Halle Berry in his arms and kissed her onstage. After the show, the shocking scene made headlines. The actress then revealed that she never wanted it to happen.
Daniel Kaluuya’s speech
Daniel Kaluuya finds a safe route to go down in the history of Oscars’ wildest speech. Upon accepting his best supporting actor award for his performance in Judas and the Black Messiah, he stated, “I’m so happy to be alive. My mom, my dad, they had s*x.’’
In what became known as #EnvelopeGate, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway awarded La La Land and its producers with the Oscar for best picture by mistake. They were halfway through their acceptance speeches when they realised they had the wrong envelope. The Oscars, in fact, belong to Moonlight.
The Will Smith’s slap
Will Smith jumped the stage at the 2022 event to slap presenter Chris Rock after the comedian commented on Jada’s shaved head, shocking attendees in the Dolby Theatre and igniting social media. While the Academy did not rescind Smith’s award, he was barred from attending any Academy functions for ten years.