He Did What?! 5 Juiciest & Most Scandalous Oscar Incidents in History

He Did What?! 5 Juiciest & Most Scandalous Oscar Incidents in History
Image credit: globallookpress, Legion-Media

In the last few years, an Oscar ceremony without a scandal is not an Oscar ceremony at all.

Sooner than you probably expected, the 2024 Oscar nominations will be announced, and the ceremony itself will take place on March 11.

While you wait to hear the names of those who may or may not receive the most important award of the year, we decided to refresh your memories of what went (very) wrong at previous ceremonies.

1. 1973: Marlon Brando Turning Down an Oscar

The first person to use the Oscars as a forum for activism was Marlon Brando. He was supposed to accept the Best Actor award for The Godfather, but he chose not to attend the event, sending Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native American activist, to speak in his place.

Littlefeather, dressed in traditional Apache attire, announced that Brando could not accept the award because of the film industry's treatment of Indians. Brando later said he did not regret his decision to refuse the statuette.

2. 1974: A Naked Man On Stage

In 1974, Elizabeth Taylor was supposed to take the stage, but just before she appeared, a naked man ran across the stage.

The man was an art gallery owner Robert Opel – his antics were simply an eccentric gesture. Surprisingly, Opel was not arrested or even ejected from the event, but was allowed to speak at a press conference afterwards. However, his immediate fame did not bring him much success in his future career.

3. 2016: #OscarsSoWhite

Following the announcement of the 20 white actors and actresses nominated for Oscars in 2016, host Chris Rock denounced racism in the industry as a whole and in the Oscars' past specifically.

He said that there had been far too few nominations of Black people, and one could hardly count the number of Black nominees in the key categories.

The speech sparked the #OscarsSoWhite movement on social media and forced the Academy to reconsider its rules for nominated films.

4. 2017: Envelopegate

The 2017 Best Picture winner was revealed by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. After opening the envelope and taking a perplexed glance at its contents, Beatty gave it to Dunaway, who announced La La Land as the winner.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the corporation that prepares the envelopes and counts the ballots, sent representatives to the stage as the movie's cast started to speak. They stopped the performance to announce that it was Moonlight that actually won the award.

Known as Envelopegate, the uncertainty around the envelopes turned into one of the biggest controversies in Oscar history.

5. 2022: Will Smith 's Slap

Can you believe it's been two years since this one already?

In 2022, Chris Rock made a joke about the hair of Jada Pinkett Smith (who suffers from alopecia), which upset Will Smith so much that he stormed onto the stage and slapped Rock in the face.

The video of the infamous slap was viewed more than 28 million times on YouTube in just eight hours. Many were sure that the slap was not real but staged in the first hours after the Oscars.

Smith, who won an Oscar that night, was not amused: he was expelled from the Academy and, despite his apology, banned from attending the ceremony for 10 years.