With the biggest night of the year in the entertainment world, there are bound to be some things you wouldn’t expect. The Oscars are a truly magical night, a night full of mystifying dresses and speeches we won’t soon forget. But with the good times come the crazy times, also known as the ones we bring up for years to come. During this past year, for example, it seemed like we never stopped talking about Chris Rock and Will Smith’s slapping incident. But 2022 wasn’t the only year the Oscars had an unexpected event happen, with some incidents happening back in the late 1960s.
So in case you missed it, during the 2022 Oscars, an altercation erupted between Smith and Rock. Smith slapped Rock square in the face, leaving everyone at the venue and watching live to be both stunned and confused. Before the slap, our mouths were agape when the 2017 Best Picture snafu occurred — where it came to light that Moonlight actually won instead of La La Land.
But the most shocking moments weren’t all bad. In fact, many shocking occurrences were shocking precisely because they were important, history-making wins — one of which includes the youngest actor to ever win an Oscar back in the 1970s.
Check out all the most shocking Oscar moments in history below as we prepare for Sunday’s big night!
The Slap (2022)
The instant this happened, everyone had one thought: “What just happened?!” While presenting the Oscar for Best Documentary, Chris Rock made an unscripted joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith and GI Jane — making a reference to her shaved head, a recent decision after a long battle with hair loss. Jada’s husband Will Smith went up and slapped Rock on stage. After that, he yelled at Rock twice saying, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth!” Not 20 minutes later, Will won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard.
‘A Star Is Born’ Chemistry (2019)
Viewers were at the edge of their seats at the 2019 Oscars when Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper took the stage to perform “Shallow” from their hit movie A Star Is Born. Though the performance started with them separated singing their solo verses, it ended with them almost intertwined with their faces smushed together by the piano. Talk about off and on-screen chemistry!
Wrong Best Picture (2017)
One of the craziest things to ever happen at the Oscars was back in 2017 when the wrong movie was announced as the winner of Best Picture. They originally announced La La Land as the winner, but it was revealed that the wrong envelope was given to presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. The real winner was Moonlight.
Adrien Brody Kisses Halle Berry Without Consent (2003)
Chances are you remember the 2003 Oscars and all of the turns that came with it. One of the most shocking moments was when Adrien Brody grabbed Halle Berry and kissed her without her consent after he won the Oscar for best actor for his role in The Piano.
Berry confessed in 2017 on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that the kiss wasn’t planned at all. “No! That was not planned! I knew nothing about it. I was like, what the f**k is happening, right now? And because I was there the year before and I know the feeling of being outta your body, I just f***ing went with it.”
Björk’s Swan Dress (2001)
One of the most memorable ensembles ever to be worn at the Oscars — or really, of all time — was when singer Björk showed up to the Academy Awards in a Marjan Pejoski dress. During the 2001 ceremony, the Oscar-nominated singer showed up for her nomination for Best Music, Original Song for the song “I’ve Seen It All” in the movie Dancer in the Dark. The dress turned heads because, well, she wore a swan dress to the ceremony.
Angelina Jolie & Her Brother Kiss (2000)
One of the strangest and most shocking things to happen at the Oscars was back in 2000, when new Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie kissed her brother James Haven. When Jolie won the award for best supporting actress for her role in Girl, Interrupted, Jolie gave her brother a kiss on the lips and said in her speech “I’m so in love with my brother right now.”
Cher’s Ab-Baring Look (1986)
Cher’s attire at the 1986 Academy Awards can only be described as daring all the way from the spiked headpiece to her sequined low-waisted skirt. When the wig is bigger than the rest of the outfit, that’s really saying something.
Barbra Streisand & Katharine Hepburn Tied (1969)
There have only been a handful of times in Oscars history that two groups tied for an award. The best-known Oscars tie was between legendary actresses Barbra Streisand for her role in Funny Girl and Katharine Hepburn in The Lion and The Winter. This is the most well-known because Streisand was a relative newcomer while Hepburn already had a bunch of wins and nominations under her belt. Hepburn didn’t attend, so everyone was looking at Streisand and her unique dress.
The Streaker (1974)
Back at the 1974 Oscars, when David Niven, John Huston, Burt Reynolds, and Diana Ross all co-hosted, the weirdest thing happened. While Niven was about to introduce the presenters for Best Picture, a man streaked across the stage. Niven responded, putting down the interruption by saying, “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?”
The man was later identified as Robert Opel, a gay political activist and teacher who was tragically murdered five years later in a robbery gone wrong.
Tatum O’Neal’s Historic Win (1974)
Back in 1974, history was made when Tatum O’Neal won the Oscar for best supporting actress for the movie Paper Moon. O’Neal was — and still is — the youngest person ever to win an Oscar at only 10 years old.
Sacheen Littlefeather Takes the Stage (1973)
Instead of accepting the Oscar for best actor for his role in The Godfather, Marlon Brando sent Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather in his place. She read off of a letter he wrote, both giving his speech and denying the Oscar. At the beginning of the speech, Littlefeather read off, “For 200 years we have said to the Indian people who are fighting for their land, their life, their families, and their right to be free.”
During the speech, John Wayne tried to assault Littlefeather, getting restrained by six officers, as Littlefeather recalled to The Guardian in 2021.
Charlie Chaplin’s Standing Ovation (1972)
Legendary actor Charlie Chaplin will always be an entertainment titan. Back in 1972, when Chaplin went up to accept his Lifetime Achievement Academy Award, he was welcomed with a shocking surprise. He received a standing ovation that lasted not one, not two, but twelve full minutes. The reason for the long ovation was not only because of his impressive career but because that night was the first night Chaplin was allowed back in the US. After being pegged as a communist, he was deported. But his legendary return to the Oscars was a beautiful night.
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