The Oscars rarely go off without a hitch, but these ten moments go well beyond the too-long acceptance speech or flubbed line. These ten moments are among the worst in the award ceremony’s history.
10Opel the Streaker (1974)
As host David Niven introduced Elizabeth Taylor during the 40th Academy Awards, photographer and activists Robert Opel ran nude across the stage. The crowd erupted with laughter and cheers. Niven played it off with a one-liner after regaining his composure, but the moment made Opel a minor celebrity.
9Redgrave Gets Political (1978)
While accepting the Best Supporting Actress for Julia, Vanessa Redgrave decided to take a shot at those who criticized a documentary she made about Palestine, referring to critics as “Zionist hoodlums.”
The crowd, of course, was not pleased with her choice of words and responded with thunderous boos. Political statements are always risky at the Oscars, but such language was doomed to fail.
8Billy in Blackface (2012)
It was intended as an homage to Sammy Davis Jr, but here’s the problem: wearing blackface during a national broadcast doesn’t go over well with modern audiences. Why Billy Crystal thought it was a good idea is beyond us; he could have done the impression just the same without.
7Jerry Lewis Improv (1958)
When NBC realized they still had twenty minutes of air time once the award show actually ended, Lewis decided to entertain the audience with improv comedy. This proved so disastrous that NBC abruptly ended the broadcast and aired a short educational film to finish the time slot.
6Brando Littlefeather (1972)
With his career on the upswing thank to The Godfather, Brando took his award as an opportunity to slam Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans.
Not only did he not show up, but he also sent Sacheen Littlefeather (who is a genuine Apache or an actress depending on who you ask) to read a speech to reporters rather than give an acceptance speech.
5Palance Push-ups (1992)
In a very surreal moment actor Jack Palance, accepting the award for Best Supporting Actor, sought to prove that age was just a number by dropping to the stage and doing a series of push-ups unprompted.
4Tale of Two Franks (1934)
Host Will Rodgers announced the Best Director award a little too casually: “Come up and get it, Frank.” Frank Lloyd and Frank Capra were both nominees, and both approached the stage. Capra, however, was not the winner and had a long walk back to his seat once Rodgers clarified.
3Shaken Sam (2016)
Singer Sam Smith gave a shoddy performance of the Bond theme “Writing’s On the Wall,” which he himself admits to. It appears that his nerves got the better of him, but even cutting him that slack doesn’t make the performance any easier to watch.
2Rob Lowe And Show White (1986)
The 61st awards show had the absolute most bizarre musical performance between Rob Lowe and Snow White. The moment was so poorly received that several celebrities at the show declared it to be the worst ever.