11 Wild Moments From the History of the Academy Awards (VIDEO)
The 2020 Academy Awards may go down as a groundbreaking ceremony: Parasite could become the first international feature film to win Best Picture, Cynthia Erivo would rise to EGOT level if her Harriet performance earns the Best Actress award, and Scarlett Johansson would be the first person to win two acting Oscars in the same year if her lead role in Marriage Story and her supporting part in JoJo Rabbit are both honored.
Alternatively, however, this year’s Oscars could go down in infamy. Remember 2017’s La La Land/Moonlight mix-up? Or that same year’s “In Memoriam” blunder?
In short, Hollywood’s biggest night is always unpredictable, and the videos below show just some highlights and lowlights from the last 90-plus Oscars ceremonies. And yes, Adele Dazeem earns a spot on the list.
1969: Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn tie for Best Actress
Streisand and Hepburn split the Best Actress vote for the 1969 ceremony, receiving 3,030 votes apiece for their roles in Funny Girl and The Lion in Winter, respectively. Hepburn was a no-show at the 1969 ceremony, though, so Streisand took to the stage and greeted her new statuette, saying, “Hello, gorgeous!”
1972: Charlie Chaplin gets a 12-minute ovation
The audience at the 1972 ceremony gave the silent film legend a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest in Oscars history, as he accepted an honorary Academy Award upon returning to the United States more than 20 years after being exiled for alleged Communist ties. “Words seem so futile — so feeble,” Chaplin told the crowd. “I can only say thank you for the honor of inviting me here.”
1973: Marlon Brando refuses his Best Actor award
After Brando won the 1973 Best Actor category for his work in The Godfather, Apache activist Sacheen Littlefeather refused the award on his behalf. “He very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award,” she told the audience, citing the actor’s objections to the “treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television and movie reruns.”
1974: A streaker crashes the ceremony
Photographer and art gallery owner Robert Opel streaked nude across the stage of the 1974 show. “Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?” co-host David Niven quipped as the audience gained its composure.
1989: Rob Lowe duets with Snow White
When Lowe Met Snow: During the 1989 telecast, Rob Lowe sang a cringe-worthy “Proud Mary” duet with a Snow White performer as audience members looked bewildered. 17 Hollywood stars, including Paul Newman and Julie Andrews, later signed an open letter lambasting the 1989 show as “an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry.”
1999: Roberto Benigni clambers over chairs
The Italian actor-director couldn’t contain his excitement after his film Life Is Beautiful won Best Foreign Language Film in 1999, standing atop chairs at Los Angeles’ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and waving his hands in the air — with Steven Spielberg, that night’s Best Director winner, helping him keep his balance. Benigni later won the Best Actor trophy for the same film.
2003: Adrien Brody plants a kiss on Halle Berry
Halle Berry, who made history with her Best Actress win the year before, presented the 2003 Best Actor award to The Pianist’s Adrien Brody, who bounded to the stage and locked lips with her, sparking controversy that raged for years. Berry later said the kiss took her by surprise. “I was like, ‘What the f—k is happening?’” she said on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen in 2017.
2012: Sacha Baron Cohen ash-bombs Ryan Seacrest
While walking the 2012 Oscars red carpet in character as The Dictator’s Admiral General Aladeen, Cohen upended an urn and dumped powder — purportedly the ashes of Kim Jong-il — on a less-than-amused Seacrest.
2014: John Travolta butchers Idina Menzel’s name
During the 2014 ceremony, Travolta had the honor of introducing Idina Menzel’s performance of the Oscar-nominated Frozen anthem “Let It Go.” Unfortunately for them both, he somehow pronounced her name “Adele Dazeem.” They both made light of the flub at the following year’s Oscars … with Travolta awkwardly cradling the Tony winner’s chin.
2017: “In Memoriam” segment shows (the alive) Jan Chapman
The 2017 Oscars’ “In Memoriam” segment showed a photo of Australian producer Jan Chapman instead of the late costume designer Janet Patterson, a friend of hers. Chapman later told Variety she was “alive and well” and “devastated” about the Academy’s mix-up.
2017: La La Land is erroneously named Best Picture
In perhaps the worst mistake of Oscars history, though, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the 2017 Best Picture Oscar to La La Land, instead of Moonlight, the rightful winner. It wasn’t their fault, though: They had the wrong envelope. PricewaterhouseCoopers later took responsibility for the snafu, and the two PwC partners responsible for guarding the envelopes were not invited back for the 2018 ceremony.
The 92nd Academy Awards, Sunday, February 9, 8/7c, ABC