Goosebumps & Gaffes: Unforgettable Oscar Moments

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Tomorrow is Oscar night and while there will be winning speeches to gush over and gowns that raise our heartbeat, will there also be those moments that achieve immortality?
As we wait and watch, here’s a relook at iconic Oscar moments over the decades that are unforgettable for the right – and more often than not, the wrong! – reasons.

When: 1940
When Hattie McDaniel received her trophy for Best Supporting Actress for Gone With the Wind, she became the first African American to ever be nominated or win an Oscar. The next win for an African American actor would come 24 years later when Sidney Poitier won Best Actor in 1964 for Lilies of the Field.

When: 1969
What are the odds of two actresses receiving the exact same number of votes – 3030, in this case - for Best Actress! Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand actually tied for the award, for their respective performances in The Lion in Winter and Funny Girl.

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When: 1969
What are the odds of two actresses receiving the exact same number of votes – 3030, in this case - for Best Actress! Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand actually tied for the award, for their respective performances in The Lion in Winter and Funny Girl.

When: 1972

Silent film icon, Charlie Chaplin received a whopping 12-minute standing ovation as he accepted his Lifetime Achievement award. Chaplin had returned to the US after a 20-year exile. He had been accused of alleged Communist sympathies.

When: 1973
Registering his protest against the film industry’s alleged negative treatment of Native Americans, Marlon Brando refused to collect his Academy Award for his role in The Godfather. In his place, he sent Native American rights activist, Sacheen Littlefeather.

When: 1974
Best Supporting Actress, Paper Moon, Tatum O'Neal stole every heart in the house as she became the youngest Oscar winner at just 10 years of age. Sporting a tuxedo and smiling happily, she thanked her father Ryan O’Neal (whom she had starred alongside) and the director Peter Bogdanovich.

When: 1974

Just as Elizabeth Taylor prepared to announce the Best Picture winner, gay rights activist Robert Opel stripped naked and ran across the stage. Taylor commented, “But isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”

When: 1988
We have seen far more daring in recent times, but back in the day, Cher had audiences gasping as she came up on stage to collect her Best Actress award for Moonstruck. Her jewel-encrusted ‘naked’ dress had eyes popping and how!

When: 1992
What better way to tell producers you’re fit enough to be cast even at 73! When Jack Palance was onstage to collect his Best Supporting Actor win for City Slickers, he proved there was no reason for filmmakers to favour younger actors, by performing three one-armed push-ups in the middle of his speech!

When: 1999
Italian director-actor Roberto Benigni was so thrilled to win Best Foreign Language film for Life Is Beautiful, he actually clambered onto seat tops as he made his way to the stage. Once there, he also enthused, “This is the moment of joy, and I want to kiss everybody because you are the major of the joy.”

When: 2007

Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, all on stage together to present their brother filmmaker Martin Scorsese with his Best Director award for The Departed! Scorsese had finally won after being nominated five times since the 1980’s Raging Bull.

When: 2009
The Best Supporting Actor award was posthumously awarded on the late Heath Ledger for his stunning performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Ledger had passed away suddenly at 28 due to an accidental overdose of prescription medications.

When: 2013
Jennifer Lawrence proved that those lovely gowns are also a major trip-trap. Even as she climbed the steps to the stage to receive her Best Actress award for Silver Linings Playbook, she tripped over her dress and landed in a heap on the floor. And we only loved her more!

When: 2014

No selfie could rival the one Ellen DeGeneres managed with everyone from Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong'o filling the frame. She captioned it, “If only Bradley’s arm was longer…” It became the most retweeted tweet of the year.

When: 2014

John Travolta produced a gigantic shock when he introduced Frozen star Idina Menzel on stage for her performance of ‘Let it go’, mispronouncing her name as “Adele Dazeem”. Later he gave several strange excuses for the gaffe, including that he was star-struck after meeting Goldie Hawn backstage.

When: 2017

A gaffe of horrific proportions, when in the middle of Team La La Land’s acceptance speeches, producer Jordan Horowitz informed the crowd that there had been a mistake and it was Moonlight that had actually won Best Picture!

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