Special Report

21 Biggest Scandals in Oscars History

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Hattie McDaniel’s missing Oscar
> Year: 1940

When Hattie McDaniel won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Mammy in “Gone With the Wind,” the nation was still very much segregated. During the ceremony, she wasn’t allowed to sit with her white castmasts and was relegated to the back of the room. Despite the indignity, McDaniel claimed she was proud of being the first Black person to win an acting Oscar. After her death, the statue was donated to Howard University, but it went missing in the 1960s. A number of theories of its fate emerged – was it being stolen or simply misplaced? – but it has never been found.

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Elizabeth Taylor wins for movie she dissed
> Year: 1961

A film icon, Elizabeth Taylor won two Academy Awards during her long career. In 1966, she won for her performance in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” but her first Oscar came in 1961 for playing a call girl in “Butterfield 8.” She apparently hated the film and dissed it every chance she could, claiming that she did it only so that she could make “Cleopatra.” But always a trooper, Taylor accepted the award soon after having undergone an emergency tracheotomy for pneumonia.

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Best actress tie
> Year: 1969

Ties happen all the time in sports. But when two actresses tied for Best Actress at the 1969 Academy Awards, it was a bit unusual. Just on the cusp of stardom, Barbra Streisand won for “Funny Girl” in a tie with Katherine Hepburn for “A Lion in Winter.” No one doubts both ladies gave great performances, but it was considered odd at the time for a relative newcomer to tie with the legendary Hepburn.

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George C. Scott rejects Oscar
> Year: 1971

George C. Scott never hid his distaste for the Academy Awards. When nominated previously for Best Supporting Actor in “The Hustler,” Scott notified the Academy that he would not accept the award, calling the ceremony “a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.” It shouldn’t have come as any surprise, then, when Scott refused to accept the Best Actor statuette for playing the title role in the World War II drama “Patton.”

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Marlon Brando turns down Oscar
> Year: 1973

Marlon Brando revived his sagging career with his performance as Vito Corleone in “The Godfather.” He boycotted the ceremony, however, and when his name was called as Best Actor, he sent ​​actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather to the stage, where she refused the Oscar on Brando’s behalf in protest of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans on film. She was booed, and it was reported John Wayne nearly rushed her on stage. In June 2022, the Academy apologized to Littlefeather for the treatment she received that night. She died the same year.

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