Stars, they’re just like us. Until they start blubbering on awards stages, slapping one another mid-ceremony, or bringing their pet pigs to the red carpet.
From Marlon Brando sending Sacheen Littlefeather to collect his award to an 11-year-old Anna Paquin hyperventilating after accepting her Oscar for The Piano, the live nature of awards ceremonies has always invited its own distinct brand of chaos.
Since last year’s infamous Oscars slap, the 2023 awards season has already introduced us to a fresh schedule of bonkers moments.
After this year’s BAFTAs blunder, where Carey Mulligan was mistakenly announced as the Best Supporting Actress Winner instead of actual winner Kerry Condon, we look at all the other times awards show have lost the plot.
* Will Smith socking Chris Rock might not even be the most shocking thing that’s ever happened at the Oscars
* A dazzling debut: See the very first time the 2021 nominees walked the Oscars red carpet
* See the 2021 Grammy Award nominees at their first-ever Grammys
1997: Babe the Pig’s cameo on the red carpet: BAFTAs
It’s what awards shows are all about – pigging out. For the 1997 BAFTA ceremony, Babe the Pig made his first cameo.
Babe was even given his own seat during the ceremony, sitting patiently during the show amid stars like Tim Roth, Emma Thompson, and Kate Winslet.
Sadly, Babe failed to come away with any of the four awards he was nominated for – but he sure looked cute in his little bow (brand/designer unspecified).
2018: La La Land and Moonlight mix-up
Before Will Smith sent the world spinning off its axis with the slap heard round the world, there was one Oscars moment that brought the ceremony to a standstill.
Thanks to a BTS snafu, presenter Faye Dunaway was handed the wrong envelope and announces La La Land to be the winner of the biggest award of the night – best picture. The producers of that film got all the way up to the stage and were smoothing out their speeches before Jordan Horowitz had to take the mike and say: “There’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won best picture”.
Moonlight is a beautiful film, but it’s fair to assume that millions more people have seen that clip than have seen what emerged as the true winner.
Plus, the meme reactions to the major mix-up almost made it worth it.
1994: Anna Paquin needs a paper bag mid-speech
New Zealand’s sweetheart Anna Paquin took home a surprise statute for Best Supporting Actress, aged only 11, beating out Emma Thomson, Rosie Perez, Holly Hunter, and Winona Ryder.
Paquin leaps up with delight, but by the time she arrives on stage is clearly too stunned to speech – gasping for air, the little Kiwi stars to hyperventilate.
Impressively, Paquin begins to manage some deep breaths, allowing her to open her start her acceptance speech – in the deepest Kiwi twang imaginable.
2022: Will Smith slaps host Chris Rock
The moment overshadowed many of the big wins. (Video first screened March 28, 2022)
A hall of A-list stars, and then the world, were floored by the events of the 2022 Oscars ceremony, as Smith stormed the stage and struck host Chris Rock across the mouth, after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
After returning to his seat, Smith twice shouted at Rock saying: “Get my wife’s name out your f….ing mouth.”
The Academy banned Smith for ten years from future awards ceremonies, Smith apologised to Rock in a written post via Instagram, and everyone from Taika Waititi to Mia Farrow had an opinion on the incident.
2019: Emma Stone yells out her apology for a whitewashed role in Aloha
Sandra Oh hosted the 2019 Golden Globes, and used her moment to call out Emma Stone’s culturally appropriative role in 2015 film Aloha.
Stone played a part written for a part-Hawaiian, part-Chinese woman in the film, and received a lot of scrutiny at the time, with critics blasting her for whitewashing.
It was no shock when Oh made the gag about Stone’s role, but the audience did react when Stone yelled out “I’m sorry!” from her seat in the audience at the time.
1973: Marlon Brando doesn’t accept his Oscar
It’s not unheard of for winners to send in someone else to accept awards on their behalf; it happened, in fact, when Anthony Hopkins – clearly believing, along with the rest of the world, that Chadwick Boseman would be the posthumous winner of the best actor gong – had Joaquin Phoenix pick up his gong.
But when Marlon Brando was named the best actor for his work in The Godfather, he sent Native American civil rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather to accept his award.
She proceeded to read aloud a 15-page speech in which Brando eviscerated the Academy, everything it stood for, and why he was rejecting the award. Ouch.
2009: MIA performs on her due date
M.I.A. performed heavily pregnant next to Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I., and Lil Wayne at the 2009 Grammy’s –so much so, that MTV reported in 2009 that the singer actually started having contractions while it was airing.
The singer was performing her hit Paper Planes on her due date, and made it through a successful performance – she gave birth to her son three days after the ceremony.
1934: Not you, Frank
The 2017 flub was foreshadowed way back in 1934, at the sixth Oscar ceremony.
Host Will Rogers, announcing the best director category – this was before the days of revolving celebs – opened the envelope and simply yelled: “Come up and get it, Frank!”
Towards the stage strolled a beaming Frank Capra, already recognised as one of the great directors of all time and nominated for Lady for a Day. The winner, however, was Frank Lloyd, for his film Cavalcade.
Capra later remembered the moment in his memoir, The Name Above the Title, saying, “That walk back – through applauding VIPs yelling “Sit down! Down in the front! Sit down!” as I obstructed their view – was the longest, saddest, most shattering walk in my life.
“I wished I could have crawled under the rug like a miserable worm. When I slumped in my chair, I felt like one”.
Still, Capra would go on to win that prize the next year, for It Happened One Night, and twice more in his career.
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