The Oscars are supposed to be one of the most prestigious and dignified award ceremonies to exist in the filmmaking business. It’s why they don’t let Ricky Gervais host it. But turns out, even without Gervais calling celebrities out, there have been a fair share of controversies. 

1. It is unlikely that someone that happens on a cricket field would happen at the Oscars but in 1974, the event was interrupted by a streaker. 

Artist and photographer Robert Opel ran naked across the stage at the 1974 Oscars. However, actor David Niven came to the rescue and famously said right after the incident to get the night moving: 

Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?

2. In the year 2000, Matt Stone and Trey Parker attended the show dressed like Jennifer Lope and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The comedic duo had been nominated for Best Original Song but it was their outfits that still got the most coverage in the next day’s newspapers. The two of them later admitted to having been on acid the whole show!

Happy Mag

3. In 2003, director Michael Moore chastises President Bush for sending US troops to war in Iraq. 

While political statements aren’t new to award ceremonies, even the Oscars, no previous nominee had ever directly called out a US President. After winning the Oscar for his film Bowling for Columbine, Moore went on to say: 

We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons … Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you

4. In 2011, Anne Hathaway and James Franco host the ‘worst’ Oscars till date.

While Hathaway put on a brave smile and tried everything she could to save the night, Franco quite simply seemed uninterested and delivered the most unenthusiastic performance any host has ever provided on the stage. 


5. Who could possibly forget the 2017 Oscars, where a mistake led to La La Land being announced the winner of the Best Picture, only for it to be corrected moments later?

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced that La La Land, had won Best Picture when it was in fact Moonlight that had bagged the biggest prize of the night. The reaction of those seated in the crowd still haunts Twitter to this day. 

6. In 1940, Hattie McDaniel won at the segregated Oscars. Yup, while Gone with the Wind won her the coveted award, getting her into the venue at the time was another story alltogether. 

The venue, the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, had a strict whites-only policy. Even after she was allowed in, she was forced to sit at a segregated table at the back of the room. To say it was disgusting would be an understatement. 


7. In 1973, Marlon Brando boycotted the Oscar and had Native American activist, Sacheen Littlefeather go up on the stage for him, who refused to accept the award on Brando’s behalf. 

Littlefeather would face ridicule from Hollywood’s most famous racist alive, Clint Eastwood and even had to be face threats from John Wayne, Hollywood’s most famous racist to have now bitten it. She was also booed when she spoke about the ill-treatment of Native Americans by Hollywood and America in general. 

He very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television and movie re-runs.

8. In 2000, Angelina Jolie ran into a controversy when she kissed her brother at the ceremony. 

While winning the Best Supporting Actress victory for Girl, Interrupted should have been the highlight of the night, it was her giving her brother James Haven an emphatic kiss on the lips that made the press have a field day. Jolie later said: 

First, we’re the best of friends. And it wasn’t some odd open-mouthed kiss. It was disappointing that something so beautiful and pure could be turned into a circus.
US Weekly

9. In 2012, Sasha Baron Cohen did a Sasha Baron Cohen and dressed up as his character from The Dictator and spilled the ‘ashes’ of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il over the red carpet. 

Four years before he pulled the Ali G outfit from nowhere to have his say on the Oscars being ‘so white’, Cohen really provoked North Korea and had to be carried away by security. 

10. Before he got slapped today by Will Smith, Chris Rock did make another statement in 2016. Only this time, he was on point. 

Hosting the ceremony amidst the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Rock went on with his monologue which had the lines and I quote: 

I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards… If they nominated hosts I wouldn’t even get this job.

11. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife at the 2022 Oscars and then went ahead and picked up the award for the Best Actor in a Lead for King Richard

You all know what happened. Rock kept joking about actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair when the latter has been vocal about suffering from alopecia. Will Smith did not take very kindly to it and went up on stage to smack the comedian across the face before telling him to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth. 

Wow, and I thought this was supposed to be a boring affair. Turns out, not only have the Oscars been controversial, they have also been racist AF. But I wonder they are going to top this year’s drama though!