The Oscars are upon us once again, and whether or not you care about the awards, you have to get a little excited about the stupid things that celebrities inevitably do each year. Of course, some were so stupid, or absurd, or just downright creepy, that they’ve stood the test of time and become legendary.
Source: John Lazar/Getty Images
By Nathan Bloch
The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.
7. David Letterman Hosts the Oscars
Source: Don Emmert/Getty Images
Most people would agree that Letterman is a reasonably funny fellow. But everyone who watched him host the 1995 Oscars agreed that he was a boring fuddy-duddy who shouldn’t quit his night job.
His worst moment was when he presented Oprah Winfrey to Uma Thurman, wise-cracking, “Uma, Oprah! Oprah, Uma!” He proceeded to repeat this joke over, and over, and over, until the audience started wondering what the hell Billy Crystal was up to that year that made him too busy to run the show.
6. Sally Field’s Oscar Acceptance Speech
Sally Field won her second Oscar in 1985 for playing Edna Spalding in Places in the Heart. The acceptance speech that followed has been misquoted time immemorial as going, “You like me, you really like me!” In fact, she didn’t say that. If she’d said that she’d have made a lick of sense.
Her actual acceptance speech did not make a lick of sense. It went thus: “The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” Who likes her? What does she feel? Why would this abstract entity like her now, but not in the past or future? Is Sally Field so unliked in her life that the only time she feels any affirmation from the world is when she wins Oscars? Whatever was going on in Sally’s mind, we’re glad she got it off her chest, and we hope she promptly enrolled in a self-esteem seminar.
5. Adrien Brody’s Oscar Acceptance Speech
Adrien Brody was the youngest actor, at 29, ever to win a Best Actor Oscar in 2003 for playing Wladyslaw Szpilman (say that one time fast) in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist. Nothing in his speech was terribly shocking. Rather, it was the way he set his speech up: he strode right up to Halle Berry, wrapped her up and planted a French kiss on the lady for all to see.
Though his rambling speech didn’t leave us much to make light of, he pulled another funny little stunt when, after babbling about this, that, and the other thing for several minutes the producers started up the Get-Off-the-Stage music. Instead of doing just that he told them to “Cut it out,” which they did, and he continued with another several minutes of earnest hogwash.
But we will always be grateful to Adrien Brody, if only for the fact that he taught us all a valuable lesson: Anyone can make out with a hot celebrity in public – all you have to do is win an Oscar.
4. Jack Palance’s One-Armed Pushups
During the 1992 Oscar ceremony, Jack Palance first took the opportunity to remind anyone who hadn’t seen his movie, “Billy Crystal, god. I crap bigger’n him.” Touche. But that wasn’t enough. No, Palance had to really show the world that he had what it took to kick the butts of all the young upstarts who were taking roles away from him. The man walked away from the microphone, found some space on the dais, then got down on the floor and did three one-armed push-ups. I mean, who does that? No one before or since.
After that night Billy Crystal dedicated the next fifteen years to becoming physically fit enough to do one push-up with two arms.
3. David Niven Gets Streaked
Anti-war sentiments were running high in 1974, and some of this passion found itself onstage while British actor David Niven was preparing to introduce Elizabeth Taylor as the Best Picture presenter. Things went awry when a man wearing an impressive mustache, and nothing else, streaked across the stage – unbeknownst, at first, to Niven.
Niven casually turned his head to the right, took in the naked spectacle that was this ‘70s man, then returned his attention to his audience – as if the whole thing had been set up and he’d just been waiting to drop his punchline. His extemporaneous response was better than any of the written jokes that night: “Well ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen. 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?”
Well played, sir. Well played.
2. Marlon Brando’s Non-Acceptance Speech
Brando won the Best Actor Oscar in 1973 for The Godfather, but did he have any intention of actually accepting the award? Come on, this is Brando we’re talking about here. That would’ve been way too easy, and gracious, and…well, normal.
Instead he had some girl calling herself Sacheen Littelfeather all dressed up as an Indian from a ‘50s western come onstage and refuse the award for him. She mumbles his reasons for not showing up, which include, “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry…and on television in movie re-runs, and also the recent happenings at Wounded Knee.”
Okay, time out – is she talking about the Wounded Knee Massacre? You know, the one that took place in 1890?? Who knows what she or Brando were up to, but one thing is for sure: Little Miss Littlefeather wasn’t even an American Indian, she was of Mexican descent and her name was actually Maria Cruz. And then she showed the world what kind of peyote she was smoking when she shook off her feathers for Playboy seven months later.
Wow. That’s a whole lot of what-the-f*$k for one little award ceremony. You gotta hand it to him, though: Brando did not half-ass his contempt.
1. Rob Lowe’s Duet with Snow White
You can fault Rob Lowe for a lot of things over the span of his thirty year career. You can fault him for being too pretty, for starting the inappropriate sex tape fad WAY before anyone had even heard of the internet, for having sex with a 16-year-old in said tape, for his performance in St. Elmo’s Fire – I could go on for an entire article about the things we could (and should) fault Rob Lowe for. But none of them really compare to the duet he sang with Snow White during 1989’s Oscar Awards.
Basically, Snow White prances about the stage as Merv Griffin introduces a bunch of old-timer celebrities, and then BOOM: Rob Lowe shows up, and he and Snow White receive microphones on silver platters. The rest is history.
Needless to say, Lowe’s talent for singing rivaled his talent for not having sex with minors, and the entire show was really an atrocity to behold. Perhaps he viewed this creepy duet with a children’s cartoon character as his penance for having sex with a child. Who knows, but it’s pretty damn frightening.
We can forgive Rob Lowe a lot of things, but flexing the pipes with Snow White at the Oscars is not one of them.