The biggest Oscar scandals

Ben Skipper

The Academy Awards are back in the headlines and expect it to stay that way until March. In just a matter of days Brett Ratner quit as the show's producer, Eddie Murphy quit as host, Brian Grazer was brought in to replace Ratner and finally Billy Crystal was announced as the new host. Phew!

It inspired us to take a look at the biggest Oscar scandals of the awards' 80+ year history...

Michael Moore's tirade against George Bush

Well if anyone is going to use the Oscar stage to promote their anti-establishment message it’s Michael Moore, who did so in style dragging up his fellow nominees and tearing the Bush Administration a new one. “We live in fictitious times” he said, before labelling the government, President Bush, the reasons to go to war in Iraq and the vote that put him in office all as fictitious as well.

There were cheers and boos from the crowd and he was quickly drowned out by the orchestral music (well known for telling people to put a sock in it and go away). Whether you agree with him or not, using the Oscar stage was disrespectful to the ‘Best Documentary’ award he was awarded for ‘Bowling for Columbine’. Unsurprisingly Moore made a documentary about his feelings towards Bush.  Surprisingly, it did not win an Oscar.

Oprah Winfrey Vs David Letterman

Never rile up Oprah, she is a terrifyingly powerful force in the world of showbiz and could make or break you with a single television appearance. While hosting the 1995 ceremony David Letterman repeatedly said, “Uma, Oprah. Oprah, Uma” in an apparent mocking of their unusual names.

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He said in his opening monologue, “It’s going to be one of those things I won’t be able to stop doing all night long.” He didn’t, and people got bored. Oprah wasn’t impressed and the feud began. She refused to go on Letterman’s show for 16 years, ending things in 2005 when she presented him with a framed photograph of herself and Uma Thurman.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker attire
When the Academy nominated ‘South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut’ in the ‘Best Original Song’ category they knew its creators would be coming along. They should have guessed that they would mock the process. The show countered by having the nominated song ‘Blame Canada’ performed live on the show, with Robin Williams singing and a parade of dancers brandishing “Stop Canada Now” signs. Surreal doesn’t begin to cover it.

As that happened, the ‘South Park’s’ creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker sat in the audience wearing brightly coloured dresses based on the ones worn by Gwenyth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez in 1999 and 2000. Stone in pink and Trey in Green, while the musician also nominated for the song, Matt Shaiman, dressed as their sky blue pimp.

Roman Polanski rape scandal
Director Roman Polanski is a convicted rapist who ran away from his sentencing for 30 years. In 2003 the story came back to light as his film at the time, ‘The Pianist’ was in Oscar contention. Despite the controversy the film went on to win several awards including ‘Best Actor’ for Adrien Brody (more on that later) but it was the ‘Best Director’ award going to Polanski that ruffled feathers.

He didn’t attend the ceremony because of the scandal but he was still cheered by some in the audience and booed by others. In 2009 he was put under house arrest in Switzerland at the request of US authorities who wanted him extradited but their request was denied and Polanski walked free.

Beyonce Wardrobe Malfunction
On a lighter, and let’s face it more pleasing, note, Beyonce was subject of a bit of scandal thanks to the opening number of the 2009 awards, in which she took centre stage with host Hugh Jackman. The massive musical performance about the return of the musical had the two singing a mash-up of a catalogue of songs but the talking point came when Jackman and Beyonce were dancing.

He dipped her over and she ended up showing more than she expected in an already revealing dress.

Halle Berry and Adrian Brody kiss

Despite his director being the centre of a scandalous whirlwind, nobody was taking anything away from Adrien Brody on the night of the 75th Academy Awards. He took home the ‘Best Actor’ prize and displayed an infectious level of excitement as he made his way to pick up the prize from Halle Berry.

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In fact he was so excited he ended up taking it a little bit too far. He bounded up on stage, grabbed Berry who he had never met before and landed a nice long smacker right on her face. Fair play to the man but she might not have been so enthusiastic herself. Luckily she laughed it off but that didn’t stop the press speculating about the pair.

Angelina Jolie and brother kiss
Another kiss, but a much, much weirder one. In 2000 the relatively inexperienced actress Angelina Jolie stole the show, both in the film for which she was nominated, ‘Girl Interrupted’ and the awards themselves.  Upon hearing that she had won the ‘Best Actress’ prize she stood up, grabbed her brother James Haven and kissed him.

Brothers and sisters peck each other on the cheek sometimes, though they try and avoid it, but this was more than that. It lingered, horribly and the moment has never left the mind of the entertainment press, who are always looking for an answer to the question on everyone’s minds following it. What the...?