The Oscars are sometimes not just a story of cinema, stars, red carpets, golden statuettes or moving and committed speeches. It is also a story of beautiful blunders! Since its first edition in 1929, the ceremony – which this year takes place on the night of Sunday February 24 to Monday February 25 – has had a handful of embarrassing moments that, for some, have marked the history of television. Between the consecration by mistake of La La Land in 2017 and the surprise appearance of a naked man on stage in 1974, we couldn’t help but come back to the biggest hiccups of the Academy Awards. After all, they are also the ones who make the charm of the annual Hollywood high mass!
1933 – That Wasn’t the Good Frank
At the sixth edition of the Oscars, Frank Capra is nominated in the category best director for his film The Grande Dame for a day. Presenter Will Rogers opens the envelope with the name of the lucky statuette winner and says, “Get up and get it, Frank. It’s ecstasy for Capra, who jumps up and immediately joins the stage. Problem: he is not the real winner, but Frank Lloyd, who was also nominated for the film Cavalcade. Blow to the head of poor Capra and immediate discomfort in the room. In his autobiography, the filmmaker wrote that the journey back to his seat was “the longest, saddest and most overwhelming moment of (his) life”. “I wish I could crawl under the rug like a miserable worm. When I sat down, I felt like one. All my friends sitting at the table were crying. Frank Capra ended up getting his revenge, however, by winning three Oscars for best director in 1935, 1937 and 1939, as well as a nomination in 1947 for his masterpiece. Life is Beautiful. Good things come to those who wait for !
1964 – Oops! Wrong envelope
The curse of the wrong envelope had already struck in 1964. During the 36th Academy Awards, comedian Sammy Davis Jr was called upon to present the statuette for best musical adaptation. After a good imitation of James Stewart, he ends up announcing the winner: John Addison, for the film Tom Jones. Timid applause in the room, but no one stands up. Oops, that was the wrong individual since he wasn’t even named. Davis Jr returns to the microphone and then jokingly declares, “They gave me the wrong envelope. Wait for the NAACP [une organisation de défense des droits des Afro-Américains, NDLR] hear about it! It is finally André Previn, for Irma the sweet, who came to collect his trophy. We are not far from disaster!
1974 – Attention, a naked man on stage!
Curious 46th Academy Awards in which we ultimately remember more this unpredictable sequence than the triumph of The Scam by George Roy Hill. At the end of the evening, presenter David Niven comes up to the desk to introduce Elizabeth Taylor, who is to present the Best Picture statuette. Niven begins his speech when suddenly a totally naked man runs across the stage and makes the peace sign. Stunned reaction from the room, which then begins to applaud and laugh nervously. This man is Robert Opel, a conceptual artist and gay activist, who was not his first feat in this area, even if it ended up making him famous. Somewhat taken aback, David Niven then joked: “Isn’t it fascinating to think that this is probably the only laugh this man will hear while stripping and showing his attributes? » After arriving on stage, Elizabeth Taylor confides with irony that it is « not easy to pass after that ».
1985 – He would not have forgotten to announce the nominees by chance?
The 57th Academy Awards was the movie Amadeus, magnificent biopic on Mozart. Milos Forman’s feature film literally killed all suspense until the end. After being treated to a standing ovation, actor Laurence Olivier goes on stage to present the statuette for best film. But, rather than bothering to call back the nominees, Olivier announces directly Amadeus as the big winner. No worries for Milos Forman, who immediately rushes to the scene. The protocol took a hit.
2013 – And it’s the fall!
One year after winning the Oscar for The Artist, Jean Dujardin presents the trophy for best actress. “And the Oscar goes… to Jennifer Lawrence! “At only 22 years old, the actress triumphs with happiness therapy. The emotion is palpable. This is her moment, she has always dreamed of it. She heads for the stage, takes the stairs and… falls, tripping over her dress. Well, that didn’t stop her from getting up quickly and joking at the microphone: “Thank you. You get up because you feel bad because I fell and it’s really embarrassing, but thank you. Lawrence must certainly still laugh about it today.
2014 – A very bad pronunciation
During the 86th Academy Awards, John Travolta is called on stage to introduce the musical performance of Idina Menzel, singer in English of the title “Liberated, delivered” by Snow Queen (that’s it, you have it in mind for the rest of the day). But the actor does not seem completely at ease and, when saying the name of the artist, he finally asks the public to welcome “Adela Dazeem” rather than Idina Menzel. What ? Who is that ? This is called butchering a name. The following year, however, Travolta made up for it by introducing a reward in the company of the singer, with the correct pronunciation this time. At the house of jimmy kimmel, the actor had justified himself by evoking a text badly written on the teleprompter. The blunder remains in the annals all the same.
2017 – When the photo does not match the deceased
The 2017 Oscars ceremony was one hell of a dumpster. Not content to announce the victory of La La Land by mistake, the organizers made another very big mistake long before the end of the evening. During the broadcast of the slideshow in tribute to the artists of the film industry who died in the year, the Australian producer Jan Chapman sees his photo appear! This had been mistakenly associated with the name of costume designer Janet Patterson, nominated four times for the Oscars, in particular for Oscar and Lucinda Where Portrait of A Lady. Chapman said she was “devastated by the use of [son] picture instead of that of [sa] great friend and longtime collaborator.
2017 – And the Best Picture Oscar goes to La La Landwell almost…
It is certainly the biggest blunder in the entire history of the Oscars, a monumental failure, from which we still have not recovered. Gathered to celebrate 50 years of Bonnie & Clyde, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are on stage to announce the winner of the Best Picture statuette. Beatty opens the envelope, seems hesitant, and finally hands it to his sidekick, who announces La La Land as the big winner. The entire team of Damien Chazelle’s film then goes on stage, and the acceptance speeches begin. But something is wrong. A manager is busy on stage and Jordan Horowitz, one of the producers of La La Land, finally returns to the microphone and announces: “There was a mistake! Moonlight, it’s you who won the Oscar for best picture, it’s not a joke! Director Barry Jenkins and his entire team then go on stage in turn, in a totally surreal atmosphere.
The error came from a confusion in the classification of the envelopes. Warren Beatty received that of the previous category (best actress won by Emma Stone for La La Land). Faye Dunaway then deduced that La La Land was the big winner. After investigation, it appeared that the imbroglio was largely due to Brian Cullinan, representative of the company PricewaterhouseCoopers (in charge of the votes), whose mission was to ensure the smooth running of the evening but who was too busy at the time sharing a photo of Emma Stone on Twitter. Suffice to say that we did not see him again at the Oscars the following year…
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The most beautiful hiccups in the history of the Oscars