The Oscars have always been highly anticipated and celebrated in the movie industry. Year after year, they hold glamorous galas that attract some of the most recognized actors, actresses, and directors in the field. However, these shows have not been without controversy. One of the most recent and remembered incidents was the clash between Will Smith and Chris Rock in the 2022 edition of the awards.
Smith took the stage in a fit of rage and punched Rock in the face after he made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The incident caused a stir in the media and on social networks, with the public being both supportive and critical of Smith’s behavior. However, this is not the first controversial incident to occur at the Oscars. Here are five other scandals that rocked the awards ceremony.
The first scandal dates back to 2003 when Michael Moore won Best Documentary for Bowling for Columbine. Taking the stage, Moore voiced his opposition to then-President George Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, calling it a war based on “fictitious reasons.” Moore was booed by part of the audience but continued to speak out.
The 1974 Oscars were marked by a protester who sneaked into the ceremony and walked naked through the venue. The man, identified as Robert Opel, was a photographer, art gallery owner, and activist from San Francisco. He made a peace sign with his hands while Elizabeth Taylor was being introduced by David Niven.
One of the Academy’s most controversial decisions was awarding the Best Director statuette to Roman Polanski, a confessed pedophile, for The Pianist in 2003. Polanski, who was a fugitive from the law at the time, evaded conviction for rape and five other felonies committed in 1977. The decision was met with applause from the audience but ultimately led to Polanski’s expulsion from the Academy in 2018.
The 2017 Oscars will always be remembered for the mix-up between La La Land and Moonlight. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong winner due to a mix-up in the envelopes. La La Land was announced as the Best Picture winner when Moonlight had actually won.
Finally, the most memorable event in Oscars history was Marlon Brando’s refusal to accept the Best Actor award for The Godfather. Instead, he sent native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather to turn down the award and speak out about the treatment and representation of Native Americans in Hollywood cinema.
In conclusion, the Oscars have not been immune to controversy, with incidents ranging from political speeches to public nudity, and from questionable decisions to envelope mix-ups. The ceremony continues to attract both admiration and criticism and has become an integral part of movie history.