August 2, 2021

The biggest scandals and controversies in the history of the Oscars

Despite the prestige of the Oscar, the awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, have not been exempt from a series of controversies, scandals and controversies throughout its 92 editions since their debut in May 1929. Some are justified by the classic “it was other times”, while others have not yet found a convincing explanation.

On the occasion of the Oscar 2020, we review in the following lines which have been these cases that gave much to talk about.

1936: Dudley Nichols, first rejection of the award

Despite taking only a few editions, the Academy had to see how a winner declined to receive his golden statuette. The informer (1935) had Dudley Nichols as a screenwriter and it was decided to award the film directed by John Ford for its libretto. However, Nichols rejected the award in solidarity with the Writers of the United States, who were in not very respectable condition.

1940: Racism and discrimination against a winner

Hattie McDaniel will always have the honor of having been the first African-American person to win an Oscar. Her role as Mammy, the maid in Gone with the Wind (1939) earned her the Best Supporting Actress award, beating her partner Olivia de Havilland, who had also been nominated in the same category. What should be a celebration was tinged with discrimination in the form of segregationist norms that prevented them from sitting with their white colleagues. In the Coconut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles where the ceremony was held, she and her companion they were forced to sit at a separate table at the back of the room.

1942: Citizen Kane runs out of prize

Citizen Kane (1941), many times considered the most influential film when not directly the best of american cinema. For this reason it is also common for people to think that he won the Oscar, when he only won the Best Original Screenplay. He is responsible for several innovations in the art of conducting, such as the structure or the use of a soundtrack, but these achievements were not recognized at the time, giving him the award for ¡Qué verde era mi valle! (1941).

1964: The Forbidden Kiss

Picking up the baton from Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier He became the first African-American actor to win the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Los lirios del valle (1963). The actress Anne Bancroft wanted to congratulate the actor with a simple kiss on the cheek that caused a scandal for the most conservative viewers at the time, being considered a “forbidden kiss”.

1969: The tie of discord

The shadow of the tongo and the amano flew over the 1969 gala. Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn tied in the final Best Actress Oscar vote with exactly 3,030 votes each for their roles in Funny Girl (1968) and The Lion in Winter (1968) respectively. “Fortunately”, Hepburn did not attend the gala, so the delivery was no more grotesque than it could have been.

1971: The Scorned Oscar

It cannot be said that he had not noticed. George C. Scott had advised the Academy that he would reject any award that his role as General George S. Patton Jr. in the film Patton (1970) could be given for “not believing that creative interpretations could be compared.” The Academy ignored it and Scott was nominated and won the Best Actor statuette. Fulfilling his notice, he declined the award.

1973: Marlon Brando in vindictive mode

One of the most famous images of the Oscars was when Marlon brando rejected his award in 1972, something that nobody expected. He won it for his role in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972), but instead of going on stage (he didn’t even go to the gala), instead sent an Apache Native American named Sacheen Littlefeather. There, she explained that she was on behalf of the actor and “unfortunately, rejected the award.” The reason? A protest against the representation of natives in Hollywood.

1974: Exhibitionism at the ceremony

If on TV we have seen more than one spontaneous who wants to attract attention in sporting events or the world of entertainment, the Oscars also suffered a particular case. It was in 1974 when Robert Opel, a staunch defender of human rights and equality, decided to appear naked at the gala to “vindicate the gay community.” The face of David Niven, who was trying to present an award, was a poem but he kept smiling.

1975: The Anti-War Speech

Hearts and Minds (1974) was a documentary that criticized the Vietnam War and won the Academy Award in its category. Producer Bert Schneider used his speech to do exactly the same as the movie: an anti-war speech and thank the activists of this cause. Despite the praiseworthy gesture, it was not very well received by the audience and the organization of the gala had to read – by Frank Sinatra’s mouth – a clarification that would leave the patriots proud of such a war happy, explaining that “We are not responsible for any political references produced in the program and we are sorry they took place tonight. “

1993: Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins go off script

Susan Sarandon y Tim Robbins were two of the presenters chosen to deliver one of the prizes. They took advantage of their moment on screen to get off the script and ask for the reception in the United States of Haitians suffering from AIDS isolated at the US base at Guantánamo. The organizer of the ceremony, Gil Gates, decided to veto them for future galas. “For someone I invite to present an award and use that time to postulate a personal political belief, it is not just outrageous, it is disgusting and dishonest.”

1993: Richard Gere in favor of Tibet

Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon weren’t the only ones singled out that night. Richard Gere He also wanted to take advantage of his privileged position after the success of Pretty Woman to criticize human rights in China and the oppression of the Chinese in Tibet. In the end he was banned for 20 years, until in 2003 he returned to a gala.

1993: Marisa Tomei won by mistake?

It has never been proven, but the controversy has accompanied since 1993 until the Moonlight and La La Land scandal – which we will talk about later – dismantled the conspiracies. Basically As in many other cases, it was considered that the award was not given to the most deserved. In this specific case, Marisa Tomei, the current UCM Aunt May, won Best Actress for her role in My cousin Vinny (1992). Everyone believed that it was impossible that Judy Davis, Joan Plowright, Vanessa Redgrave and Miranda Richardson had been imposed, and that presenter Jack Palance would have misread the name, suffered a slip or any other reason and that the Academy simply did not want to admit the error.