Whether we’re judging how attractive young starlets look in designer gowns, or celebrating white people profiting off the talent of Black musicians, there is always something surprising at an awards show! We broke down the top ten most controversial moments in award show history.
Wrong Film Announced as Best Picture Winner
In 2017, Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced that the Oscar for Best Picture was star-studded movie musical “La La Land,” when, in actuality, the real Oscar winner was “Suicide Squad,” but only the scene in which Jared Leto’s Joker pretends the mouth tattoo on his hand is his real mouth.
Kanye West Correctly Interrupts Taylor Swift
Who could forget when Kanye West, now known as a cobbler from Calabasas, stole the mic from Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs to announce that the award should have gone to Beyonce, for her music video “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)?” The incident is notorious because it was the last time Mr. West made a statement that was unimpeachably correct in public, following up on his earlier hit “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.”
Marlon Brando Uses Platform to Advocate for Others
In 1973, Marlon Brando invited Native actress Sacheen Littlefeather onto the Oscar stage to refuse the Academy Award he’d been given for his performance in “The Godfather.” This shocked the Academy, who were previously unaware that white savior characters could exist off-screen.
Jennifer Lawrence Falls Up the Stairs and Is Therefore No Longer Sexy
The only thing better than celebrating the extraordinary work of the world’s brightest stars is tearing them apart when they’ve revealed themselves to be human. Many people may not recall this, but prior to falling at the Academy Awards in 2013, Jennifer Lawrence was actually considered attractive by many. Now she is rightly mocked and scorned.
The Three-Way Kiss Between Madonna, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera
This educational moment allowed gay and bisexual young women and girls everywhere the opportunity to see how their parents would later react when they finally came out. Did they cringe? Did they change the channel? Did they turn to you and say, “You know, honey, if Cathy is more than your roommate, we’d be fine with that. Actually, we’d be really happy for you, and we’d worry less that you’ll get pregnant before you finish college.” Don’t worry, gals—the queerbaiting only gets better!
Adrien Brody Kisses Halle Berry Without Her Consent
This wasn’t that controversial, sadly. Men do shit like this all the time. But really, it should be a bigger deal. It’s not romantic and it’s not charming. Be better, men.
John Travolta Calls Idina Menzel “Adele Dazeem”
At the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony, John Travolta mistakenly uttered the phrase “Adele Dazeem,” a call to arms for scientologists around the world to prepare for galactic war as the Feds close in on the remains of Shelly Miscavige. A seasoned actor, Mr. Travolta quickly covered his mistake by pretending to have mispronounced the name of talented multihyphenate Idina Menzel. No need to worry, fellow believers—where Shelly’s gone, no one will find her!
Beyonce Invents Motherhood at VMAs
Having already dominated the airwaves and won over the hearts of fans around the world with her group Destiny’s Child as well as her solo albums, Beyonce broke new ground in 2011 with the discovery of pregnancy and the invention of motherhood. Since her revelation, millions have followed in her footsteps, birthing what we now call “children.”
Jodie Foster Comes Out as Mel Gibson Supporter
Nothing is braver than when people who are known for being rich surprise us all by revealing themselves to also be ethically bankrupt! Jodie Foster, who directed and starred alongside Mel Gibson in 2011’s The Beaver, has boldly come forward to say that his misogyny, anti-Semitism, racism, and good old fashioned physical abuse are a-okay with her.
Charlie Chaplin Gets a Twelve Minute Standing Ovation
Unfortunately, the audience had seen his mustache and mistaken him for Adolf Hitler.