“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.” That’s what actor David Niven said in 1974 after a naked man streaked across the stage at the Oscars just as he was about to present an award. The Brit never lost his cool or batted an eyelid while the audience roared with laughter.
Marlon Brando Makes A Statement
He was never one to shy away from controversy so in 1973 when Marlon Brando won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in The Godfather he made a statement without even turning up at the ceremony. He sent Sacheen Littlefeather, an Apache and the then president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee to give a speech in his place. Littlefeather said Brando “regretfully cannot accept this very generous award” because of “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television and in movie reruns.”
Chris Rock v Jude Law v Sean Penn
In 2005 comedian Chris Rock struck gold by offending two actors in one go with a single joke. The host mocked the British actor Jude Law by asking: “Who is Jude Law? Why is he in every movie I have seen in the last four years?” Neither Law nor Sean Penn was amused and when the latter presented an award later that night he grumpily said: “Forgive my lack of humor…Jude Law is one of our most talented actors.”
Sally Field: ‘You Really Like Me’
Sally Field could have won an Oscar for her acceptance speech alone in 1985 when she gushed, and gushed, and gushed after finding out she won in the Best Actress category for her performance in Places In The Heart. She was mocked for years after for telling the audience: “And I can’t deny the fact that you like me – right now – you like me.”
Anne Hathaway v James Franco
The headlines were scathing the morning after Anne Hathaway and James Franco presented the 2011 Oscars, with critics calling the show “boring,” a “disaster” and the hosts as being “spectacularly bad.” Franco received the most criticism, with The Hollywood Reporter saying the actor “seemed distant [and] uninterested.” A source told Us Weekly that even Hathaway pointed the finger at her co-host, saying: “She had to provide all the energy – he was just phoning it in.”
anessa Redgrave Criticizes ‘Zionist Hoodlums’
When it comes to controversy Vanessa Redgrave could go head-to-head with Marlon Brando. Her pro-Palestinian views have never sat easily with some so she added salt to the wound in 1978 when – while accepting her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Julia – she took aim at a “small bunch of Zionist hoodlums.” Members of the audience hissed and moaned.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Acceptance Speech
Could this have been the moment when the Gwyneth Paltrow backlash began? In 1999, while accepting a Best Actress Oscar for her role in Shakespeare In Love, Paltrow cried throughout her three-minute speech complete with gulps, gushes, shakes and a crumpled face.
Adrien Brody Kisses Halle Berry
Adrien Brody took full advantage of his moment in the sun when he went up to collect his Best Actor Oscar for The Pianist in 2002. Before he even thanked the Academy he grabbed presenter Halle Berry and gave her a long kiss on the lips.
Oops! Melissa Leo’s F-bomb
Slipping the F-word into your acceptance speech – during a live broadcast – is sure to get you into the Academy Award history books. Melissa Leo seemingly couldn’t help herself when she collected her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in The Fighter. She quipped: “When I watched Kate [Winslet] two years ago it looked so f**king easy.”
The mere fact that the Academy picked the notorious Seth MacFarlane to host the awards ceremony was controversial for some people. But on the night he delivered a plethora of bawdy jokes throughout the 2013 broadcast that outraged many. His song listing the actresses who have bared the boobs on screen was more than enough to peeve Jane Fonda and that was just the beginning of the show.
Rob Lowe & Snow White
Rob Lowe singing – off-key – with Snow White can hardly be called controversial, surely? Apparently it can. Seventeen celebrities including Julie Andrews, Billy Wilder and Paul Newman signed a letter to the Academy saying that the 1989 performance was “an embarrassment to both [the Oscars] and the entire picture industry.”
Hattie McDaniel & The Segregated Table
She may have been the first African-American to ever win an Oscar but that doesn’t mean that Hattie McDaniel didn’t experience some painful moments along the way. Most notably when she went to pick up her award for Best Supporting Actress for Gone With The Wind in 1940, she had to make her way from the segregated table at the back of the room, where she sat apart from the rest of the cast.