20 Most Outrageous Oscar Moments in History, Including That ‘Moonlight’ Surprise (Videos)
A look back at Oscar highlights, from Marlon Brando refusing his award to John Travolta botching Idina Menzel’s name
Beatrice Verhoeven | February 9, 2020 @ 10:05 AM
Last Updated: February 9, 2020 @ 10:08 AM
Jerry Lewis Improvises Oscars Finale for 20 Minutes (1959)< /b>
Lewis hosted the show in 1959, but for some reason, the show ended 20 minutes early, so he improvised a monologue for the rest of the show, which was joked about for many years after that.
Charlie Chaplin Receives 12-Minute Standing Ovation (1972)
When receiving the Honorary Award in 1972, Charlie Chaplin received a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest in Oscar history.
Marlon Brando Refuses Best Actor Oscar (1973)
When Brando won the award for Best Actor for his role in "The Godfather," he sent up Sacheen Littlefeather to wave away the statue and say that Brando couldn't accept the award due to the treatment of Native Americans in the film industry.
Man Streaks on the Oscar Stage (1974)
While David Niven was hosting the Oscars in 1974, he was surprised when Robert Opel decided to streak across stage, flashing a peace sign.
Sally Field's "You Really Like Me!" Speech (1985)
When Sally Field won Best Actress for her performance in "Places in the Heart," she famously said, "I can't deny the fact that you like me!"
Rob Lowe's Disastrous Musical Opening with Snow White (1989)
This musical number was torn apart by critics, attracted a lawsuit from Disney, and had Julie Andrews, Paul Newman, Sidney Lumet and Gregory Peck co-signing a letter, calling it an “embarrassment” and “demeaning.”
Jack Palance Does Push-Ups on Stage (1992)
When Palance won the Supporting Actor award for "City Slickers," he talked about producers taking risks with older actors. To give an example, he popped down onto the floor and did some push ups.
Tom Hanks Thanks (and Outs) His High School Teacher (1993)
Tom Hanks delivered one of the most outstanding acceptance speeches when he won the Best Actor award for "Philadelphia." He also gave a shout-out to his high school drama teacher as one of "the finest gay Americans I have known." (Hanks had contacted his long-retired teacher beforehand, but the incident inspired the 1997 comedy "In & Out.")
Roberto Benigni Goes Wild (1999)
When Roberto Benigni won the Oscar for Foreign Language Film in 1999, ("Life Is Beautiful"), he went wild and climbed on chairs, jumped around and hopped onto the stage.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Long Acceptance Speech (1999)
Gwyneth Paltrow accepted the award for her role in "Shakespeare in Love," and cried and hiccuped throughout the entire three-minute speech.
South Park Creators Dress Like Gwyneth Paltrow and J-Lo (2000)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone dressed as Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow in 2000, but later admitted they were "tripping on acid."
Julia Roberts' Acceptance Speech (2001)
When Roberts won for the Best Actress award for "Erin Brockovich," she went way over the time limit and asked for the Academy to turn off the clock. However, she forgot to mention the real-life Brockovich, for which she later apologized.
Halle Berry's Oscar Speech (2002)
Berry was the first African-American woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, and in her speech, called her award a door-opening moment for "every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance."
Late Heath Ledger Wins The Oscar (2009)
One year after Heath Ledger died, he won the Oscar for his supporting role in "The Dark Knight." His family accepted the award on his behalf.
Melissa Leo Swears on Stage (2011)
When Leo accepted the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "The Fighter," she was so nervous that she kept cussing throughout the entire speech.
Jennifer Lawrence Falls (2013)
When walking up stage to get her Oscar for Best Actress for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook," Lawrence tripped. The audience gave her a standing ovation but Lawrence said, "you guys are just standing because you feel bad that I fell."
John Travolta Botches Idina Menzel's Name (2014)
When introducing Idina Menzel, who was set to perform "Let It Go" from "Frozen," he botched her name completely and called her, "Adele Dazeem."
Ellen's Superstar Selfie (2014)
Ellen DeGeneres hosted the 2014 Oscars and wanted to break the record for the most retweeted photo of all time, so she snapped a star-studded picture with Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper and Meryl Streep.
Sean Penn's Fail of a Joke About Alejandro Inarritu (2015)
Sean Penn introduced the winner of Best Picture, "Birdman," by saying, "who gave this son of a bitch his green card?" before announcing Alejandro Inarritu's name. However, the joke was completely lost on audiences and many criticized Penn for being racist.
"La La Land" falsely declared Best Picture Winner instead of "Moonlight" (2017)
At the 2017 Oscars, Warren Beatty declared "La La Land" the winner of Best Picture. But it hadn't -- due to a mix-up with the envelopes backstage. And "La La Land" producers went from accepting the award on stage to handing over the prize to their counterparts for "Moonlight," the actual winner.