The Oscars Most Controversial and Scandalous Moments


The Oscars Most Controversial and Scandalous Moments


A red carpet festival glamor scene illustration.

The Oscars Most Controversial and Scandalous Moments


A red carpet festival glamor scene illustration.

The annual Academy Awards ceremony is always a night to remember, but not always for the right reasons. Its accomplishments are sometimes overshadowed by controversy, scandal and prejudice. Join us as we look at some of the most controversial Oscar ceremony moments in history. If you want the glitz and glam without all the drama, play slots online instead. Read on to the end for some glamorous online slot recommendations. 

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock

Okay, okay, let’s address the elephant in the room. This controversial entry happened recently. It’s the first thing that pops up when you think of the Academy Awards. Even though the countless memes that followed might have ingrained the scene in our minds forever, let’s refresh your memory.

After the evening’s host, Chris Rock, made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith on stage, Will Smith calmly walked up mid-ceremony to slap the comedian for insulting his wife. Anyone who thought the attack was a joke or a dramatic bit swiftly changed their minds when Smith followed the slap with threatening remarks and explicit comments. This eerily calm assault was completely unexpected and, to some, even heartbreaking. 

Rock did attempt to make light of the situation with a joke to keep the night lively. He’s also the only reason Smith wasn’t arrested during the broadcast. Smith has since faced a lot of backlash, including being removed from the academy with a ten-year ban from the ceremony. Some stars, such as Harry Lenix, have said that the Best Actor Award Smith accepted later that night should be returned. They also say that he shouldn’t have been allowed to accept it and justify his actions in the first place.

Unfortunately for the Academy, thanks to the viral slap, the only people that remember what accolades were handed out that night are the winners. Has that painful slap left you feeling like you need a self-defense class? Online casino games like Street Fighter II: The World Warrior Slot can teach you some quick moves. 

The Lalaland and Moonlight Best Picture mix-up

A souvenir Oscar replica on a bed of popcorn.

Before 2017, we all believed John Travolta calling Idina Menzel “Adele Dazeem” was the biggest announcing mistake. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway proved us wrong when they announced Lalaland as the Best Picture winner instead of Moonlight.

To make matters worse, the mistake wasn’t immediately corrected. Instead, the Lalaland crew got up and began their lengthy acceptance speeches. Minutes later, faces dropped and whispers were heard when staff informed them that the award had been won by Moonlight. Their triumphant speeches had to be cut midway, and they had to awkwardly hand their golden awards over to the Moonlight cast and crew. 

The light goes out on Parasite

At least the Lalaland crew was given a chance to give a speech, even if it was for an award they hadn’t actually won. The case was different for Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite, even after the movie made history in 2020 as the first foreign film to take home Best Picture. 

Moments after the cast and crew of Parasite stepped on stage to accept their Best Picture award and begin their thanks, the lights turned off on stage. The spotlight had moved on to the next celebrity announcer who was meant to conclude the evening. Thankfully, Tom Hanks and Charlize Theron came to the winner’s rescue chanting “Up, up, up,” and the lights came back on.

The Parasite team could then complete their victory speeches and enjoy a night of multiple Oscar wins. Still, the blunder was quite bizarre and badly timed considering the Academy’s history of underrepresentation and prejudice.

Marlon Brando rejects his Oscar for The Godfather

Can you believe Marlon Brando didn’t accept his Oscar for his iconic and unforgettable role in The Godfather? Though his rejection of the golden statue wasn’t the first, it certainly was the most shocking.

Brando’s victory was almost a foregone conclusion after his undeniably powerful performance. But in an unexpected twist, Brando rejected the award to protest Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans. 

In his place, the actor sent actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather to decline the award on his behalf. The moment proved powerful and convincing as the 1973 awards show was the Oscars’ first international broadcast. Over 85 million people heard Littlefeather’s moving speech. 

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Roman Polanski pleads guilty, flees and wins an Oscar

 A red stage background with red carpet and smoke.

The 75th Academy Awards in 2003 featured the darkest moment in the awards show’s history. Though some of the entries on our list might be mildly amusing, giving an accolade to someone who was arrested for drugging and raping a young girl is no laughing matter. 

Roman Polanski’s career was already shrouded in controversy. But, in 1977, he pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor. He fled to Paris before his sentencing to avoid jail time. Polanski continued his directing work in Paris, and his film The Pianist earned him a Best Director nomination. If you think a nomination for the runaway was a step too far, get ready to bury your head in your hands. The director went on to win the award!

Polanksi has since been expelled from the Academy and a code of conduct has been instituted after numerous sexual misconduct allegations among Academy members were uncovered. 

Hattie MacDaniel gets segregated from the rest of the cast

You’d think being the first African American to win an Oscar would earn you extra special treatment and respect. Hattie McDaniel’s first experience at the Academy Awards was a shameful depiction of society and the industry’s racism. 

McDaniel’s performance in the timeless drama Gone With The Wind earned her a well-deserved award for Best Supporting Actress in 1940. But sadly, instead of being seated with the rest of the cast, McDaniel was forced to sit at a table in the back of the room because of the venue’s segregation policy. 

Still, McDaniel didn’t let this ruin the historic moment for her. She delivered a speech that displayed warmth, joy and gratitude. Perhaps the most memorable moment wasn’t her unfair treatment, but her sincere words: “My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel.”

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