Breaking News
More () »

Flashback: Wildest Oscar moments in history

Surprises are part of the Oscars' DNA, from slaps to envelope mix-ups to a streaker.

WASHINGTON — The Oscars are the film industry's most prestigious award ceremony and with 95 years of history, lots of unexpected things are bound to happen.

Whether it was Chris Rock getting slapped in the face by Will Smith or best picture being messed up in 2016, the Academy Awards are synonymous with surprises. 

A second slap is highly unlikely since the Academy has set up a crisis team to deal with unanticipated events. The Oscars, however, are known to be unpredictable.

Here are some unforgettable moments the Academy has witnessed.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock (2022)

It's impossible to forget the moments when actor Will Smith approached comedian Chris Rock on stage and slapped him. Even a year later, the infamous slap haunts all parties involved. 

Seconds after Rock had made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's hairstyle during the 2022 Oscars, Smith approached Rock and smacked him while on live TV. The shocking and unexpected slap befuddled global audiences and left many wondering if it was planned. 

Despite winning best actor that night, Smith was later banned for a decade from the Academy Awards.

"La La Land" wins best picture...except not (2017)

Best picture, the last Oscar of the night, suffered a mix up of envelopes in what would be etched into Academy Award history as "Envelopegate."

Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had taken the wrong envelope and announced "La La Land" as best picture winners. Celebrations and speeches from the "La La Land" cast were well underway on stage until producer Jordan Horowitz corrected the mistake. 

"This is not a joke. 'Moonlight' has won best picture," Horowitz said to the audience while holding up the winning envelope.

Adele Dazeem? John Travolta butchers Idina Menzel's name (2014)

While introducing "Frozen" star Idina Menzel at the 86th Academy Awards, actor John Travolta completely and hilariously changed Menzel's name. 

"Please welcome the wickedly talented, the one and only, Adele Dazeem," Travolta said on live broadcast. 

The mistake, which felt more like an episode of a sitcom, surely secured its place as one of the funniest Oscars moments. 

Jennifer Lawrence trips (2013)

It's a nightmare come true -- tripping while accepting an Oscar live on national television. 

As Jennifer Lawrence was walking up to accept her best actress award for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook," she lost her balance going up the steps. 

Despite the incident, Lawrence recovered gracefully with a few jokes. 

"You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell and that's really embarrassing but thank you," she said as she received a standing ovation.

Rob Lowe sings duet with Snow White (1989)

The 1989 Academy Awards opened with an 11-minute number performed by actor Rob Lowe and an actress playing Snow White. The over-the-top musical by "Grease" producer Allan Carr virtually ended his career and found a permanent place in the closet of Oscar embarrassments. 

The awkward sketch was so bad that Paul Newman, Julie Andrews and 15 other Hollywood figures wrote a letter to Academy denouncing the performance as an embarrassment. 

“The 61st Academy Awards show was an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry,” the letter stated. “It is neither fitting nor acceptable that the best work in motion pictures be acknowledged in such a demeaning fashion. We urge the president and governors of the Academy to ensure that future award presentations reflect the same standard of excellence as that set by the films and filmmakers they honor.”

To add insult to injury, Disney later sued the Academy for unauthorized use of the Snow White character.

Streaker runs across stage (1974)

While host David Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor at the 46th Academy Awards, activist Robert Opel ran across the stage naked while making a peace sign. A series of laughs broke out from the audience as Niven did a double take. 

"That was almost bound to happen," Niven joked moments later. "Probably the only laugh that a man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings."

Sacheen Littlefeather rejects Marlon Brando's Oscar (1973)

In 1973, Marlon Brando won best actor at the Academy Awards for his role as Vito Corleone in the classic film "The Godfather." However, Brando did not attend nor accept his award that night. 

Instead, actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather took his place on the stage with a letter penned by Brando saying he was boycotting the show and his award in protest of the treatment of Native Americans in the film industry. 

Littlefeather was immediately met by boos while delivering Brando's message and eventually told reporters that actor John Wayne was restrained by security guards from rushing on stage.

It took the Academy nearly 50 years to apologize for Littlefeather's treatment at the 1973 Oscars. 

The 95th Academy Awards are on Sunday, Mar. 12. The ceremony is set to begin at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ABC.

Before You Leave, Check This Out