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The top 5 Academy Awards outrageous moments

Posted by mandyf on October 15, 2012

The Academy Awards have had highs, lows, and everything in between which includes the weird and outrageous. What defines a weird Academy Award moment is up in the air, but in general if it makes people in the live audience and at home simultaneously cringe, squirm, and unconsciously cover their eyes the chances are it qualifies as weird. When you consider the Academy Awards are the celebration of an industry primarily based in place often referred to as “Hollyweird”, there is plenty of weirdness to pick from.

Michael Moore makes the list for a truly cringe worthy experience. Yes the world has come to expect that Michael Moore will do and say pretty much anything to get attention, during his 2003 acceptance speech for Best Documentary Film (Bowling  For Columbine, he got a little too weird. While people criticize the government and wars regularly, to do so as he did during his speech at that point in history was a little too weird and actually enraged tens of thousands of people at the very least. There were even members of the Academy that refused to shake his hand after his speech.

So what is weird about that? For starters he invited all the other nominees in his category on stage with him – they did not know what he was going to say, yet when he launched into his demented screed he stated: “They’re here in solidarity with me.” To that point it was okay, but once he began expressing his political views the smiles of the other nominees became strained. Then they disappeared. Then they started to look like they were begging for the music to begin playing which it thankfully did cutting Moore off mid-sentence. It may be the only time Moore ever shut his mouth on camera with minimal coercion.

Marketa Irglova and Jon Stewart bring us the next weird Academy Award moment. Merketa Irglova had just won the Oscar for best song. She had only made it to the podium when the music rolled and the cameras cut to commercial. She didn’t even have a chance to say a simple one word speech like “thanks.”  The Academy Awards producers have always been tough on time when it comes to the less glamorous categories or people that are not household names but this was ridiculous.

Enter Jon Stewart – a knight on a white horse of sorts that let the Academy and producers now exactly what he thought of them. He escorted Irglova back to the podium before returning from the commercial break. There she stood along with Glen Hansard who

shared the award with her and she delivered her speech. This time the producers did not dare to cut her short or suffer the wrath of Jon Stewart. Because Jon Stewart was the one person to finally give the Academy Awards producers the figurative finger, it was a weird and spectacular Academy Awards moment.

You cannot talk about weird moments at the Academy Awards without bringing up Bjork. The dress she wore to the 2001 awards show is still talked about today – mostly as a punchline. The dress was some sort of swan that was on her? Around her? A part of her? The best minds at NASA and think tanks around the world are more likely to figure out how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop before they figure out what exactly this dress was. Figuring out what she was thinking when she decided that was a good look is a whole other issue altogether.  Was it weird? Yes it was weird to a factor of ten and then some. It was beyond outrageous even by haute couture standards.
In 1992 at the 64th annual Academy Awards Jack Palance looked more like Jack Lalane. When he addressed the podium to make his speech for his win of the Best Supporting Actor award for City Slickers, he opened by saying “Billy Crystal – I crap bigger than him.” He then went into some sort of spiel about how the industry maybe wondered if he was too old at 73 to be put in movies, and how maybe his health made him a risky pick for a movie that required physical activity. To prove how in shape he was he walked away from the podium, dropped to the floor, and began doing one armed push ups! Bizarre, no – weird definitely.

Whether this is the most outrageous Academy Awards moment ever is up to debate like the other four, but when Roberto Benigni won the first of his two Oscars of the night for life is Beautiful, he was a little weird. His overly animated speech was a little weird at least – but it was endearing and enjoyable. What was really weird was what he did before the speech – specifically how he got to the podium.

Maybe Benigni had too much espresso, or maybe emotion really did overtake him so much he forgot where he was. To this day nobody knows. What we do know however is that the route he took from his seat to the stage was the most direct route – an almost straight line that included walking over seats.

The top five hardly does justice to outrageous Academy Awards moments because in all honesty there are so many.  There was the 1974 streaker when Elizabeth Taylor was being introduced, and who can forget Marlon Brando declining to appear to accept his Oscar for the Godfather? He sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Mexican-American actress dressed as a Native American  of days gone by to deliver a speech he wrote berating Hollywood for their treatment and portrayal of Native Americans. It makes you wonder if there were a few people that refused his offer before he found Littlefeather.

Any way you slice it, the Academy Awards have a history of outrageous and weird events – and with each passing year they just keep getting weirder and weirder.


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