The 86th Academy Awards ceremony, honoring the best films of 2013 will take place on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. They will be televised by the ABC network. Awards will be presented in 24 categories with tributes to film critic the late Roger Ebert and Academy Award-winning the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, as well as a tribute honoring Film’s Greatest Superheroes.
The Oscar statuette was designed by Cedric Gibbons, art director for MGM studios, and was sculpted by George Stanley. The statuette is that of a knight standing on a reel of film with his hands gripping a sword. The nickname of Oscar has unknown origins. One story about the name’s origin involves then Academy librarian and future executive director, Margaret Herrick. The story goes that Herrick, upon seeing the statuette sitting on a table exclaimed “it looks just like my Uncle Oscar!” Another common story involves actress and two-time Academy Award winner Bette Davis, who reportedly named it after her ex-husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, Jr. Either way, the nickname stuck. “And the Oscar goes to…” here are five words that send chills and nervous tingles to the usually strong spines of even the coolest of Hollywood players.
Winning an Academy Award can prompt extreme euphoria, tears of joy and the desire to kiss whoever crosses your path…not to mention how it opens the door for getting plum roles. Interestingly, in the early days award results were made available to newspapers ahead of the ceremony so that they would make the next day’s edition. This practice was rapidly dropped when in 1941 nominees started visiting the press rooms before the event to find out whether they’d won. Bob Hope hosted the Oscars 18 times. His first time was in 1939 which was the year Gone with the Wind won Best Picture, and his last in 1977, when it was won by Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. The next most regular hosts are Billy Crystal, with eight appearances, and Johnny Carson with five. This year Ellen DeGeneres will host the show for the second time. She previously hosted the 79th ceremony in 2007 In addition to the previous standard historical information there have been moments that live television is never prepared for. Oscar broadcasts have never been without it’s share of interesting speeches or unexpected events. Here are ten of the oddest Oscar moments in the history of the Academy Awards.
10. Roberto Benigni- Life is Beautiful (1999)
Robert Benigni unleashed his pure joy when he won the Oscar for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ in 1999, dancing across chairs and telling the entire auditorium he wanted to kiss all of them. It was truly the telecast cutaways that made his speech wonderful..the tears of Goldie Hawn, the laughter of Gwyneth Paltrow and the obvious bewilderment of Sophia Loren, all of whom where shown live during his speech. His effervescent and animated acceptance speech took many Hollywood regulars by surprise.
9. Jack Palance – City Slickers (1992)
He was a veteran of many classic Westerns and Jack Palance won an Oscar for his performance as grizzled cowboy Curly in the Billy Crystal comedy City Slickers. He may have been in his 70s, but Palance still showed he was fit as a fiddle by performing one-armed push-ups on stage after accepting his award.
8. Adrien Brody – The Pianist (2003)
At age 29, Adrien Brody became the youngest ever recipient of the ‘Best Actor Award’ for his role in The Pianist. However, he is better remembered for his smooch with Halle Berry. “I bet they didn’t tell you that was in the gift bag,” he told Berry, before calling Wladyslaw Szpilman “the role of a lifetime”.
7. Sally Field – Places in the Heart (1985)
“You like me!” exclaimed Sally Field as she accepted her award. The line was from her film Norma Rae, which bagged her an Oscar back in 1979, a reference that many didn’t understand at the time and one that dogged her for many years afterwards.
6. Tom Hanks – Philadelphia (1993)
Hanks delivered an incredible performance as AIDS victim Andrew Beckett in Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia and won an award for ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role’. On accepting his Oscar Tom thanked his high school drama teacher and former classmate, “two of the finest gay Americans”. Without meaning to do so, he inadvertently outted them out as they were, “still in the closet”. Whoops…
5. Michael Moore – Bowling for Columbine (2003)
It was soapbox time for Michael Moore when he won for ‘Best Documentary, Features’. Moore was both applauded and booed at when he used his acceptance speech as an opportunity to proclaim his opposition to the United States-led invasion of Iraq, which had begun just a few days prior. The reception from Oscar guests was mixed, and the band kicked in early in a bid to get Moore off stage. Proof once again that a moment in the sun is just that..a moment.
4. Julia Roberts- Erin Brockovich (2001)
After three nominations, Julia Roberts finally got her moment of glory with her win for Erin Brockovich. Roberts was determined that nobody was going to take away her moment basking in the glow of an Oscar win. Said Julia: “Sir, you’re doing a great job but you’re quick with that stick so why don’t you sit because I may never be here again,” she told the orchestra conductor. Roberts laughed and yelled, “I love it up here!”. She took the stage and made it her own. It was one of the most emotional acceptance speeches.
3. Meryl Streep- The Iron Lady (2012)
Meryl Streep has garnered a staggering 17 Oscar nominations – winning three – with the most recent victory coming for The Iron Lady. It holds special poignancy as it arrived 30 years after her last win for Sophie’s Choice. Streep commented, “To be recognized when you’re young and happening and on the way is one thing but — well it’s all so improbable in my life to be where I am at my age. It’s like a miracle. And I’m really, really happy.”
2. Marlon Brando – The Godfather (1973)
Marlon Brando declines ‘Best Actor’ Oscar – Only the second actor to do so (the first was George C. Scott for Patton in 1971), Brando boycotted the Oscars and refused his award for The Godfather in 1973. It should also be known that Al Pacino also boycotted them in the same year, but his reason is that he should have been nominated for ‘Best Actor’ and not ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for The Godfather.
Instead, Brando sent Native American civil rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather to collect his trophy. Brando had become involved in the American Indian Movement, and used his win to protest their misrepresentation in Hollywood. FYI Ms. Littlefeather’s real name was Marie Cruz and that same year, she posed for Playboy. One of the truly oddest Oscar moments of all time. Since they cannot be sold, it is likely that Brando’s Oscar resides with the Academy.
1.David Niven and the Streaker (1974)
Last and certainly not least, British actor David Niven was surprised by streaker Robert Opal, just as he was introducing Elizabeth Taylor. Opal ran naked onto the stage doing what was the fad at the time, “streaking naked” across the stage. The audience erupted into roaring laughter while Niven remained un-phased.
The British actor deadpanned, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen. 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?” To his credit, Niven did a remarkable job of keeping his wits about him.
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