Special Report

21 Biggest Scandals in Oscars History

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John Travolta’s confusion
> Year: 2014

Idina Menzel is an established Broadway star. But when John Travolta introduced her before she sang “Let it Go” from “Frozen,” he called her “Adele Dazeem.” Initially taken aback by the flub, Menzel later said “It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”

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> Year: 2015

Noting that all the 2014 nominees for the acting awards were white, media strategist and diversity advocate April Reign came up with the hashtag #oscarssowhite to highlight the lack of Black representation and the Academy’s history of racism (see: Hattie McDaniel). She had a point: 92% of the Academy’s membership is white. Some actors, such as Jada Pinkett Smith, boycotted the ceremony and demanded change. Even President Barack Obama weighed in, saying the industry should expand its talent base. Since then, the Academy has made efforts to be more inclusive.

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Best Picture mix-up
> Year: 2017

Imagine the biggest night of your life when your movie wins Best Picture? Except, it didn’t really happen. That’s what happened when “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as Best Picture due to a mixup with the envelope read by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The mixup was soon cleared up when “Moonlight” was in fact given the award.

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Casey Affleck alleged sexual harassment
> Year: 2017

When Casey Affleck won an Oscar for his riveting performance in “Manchester by the Sea,” not all were pleased, given allegations of sexual harassment made against the actor. One of those who objected was presenter Brie Larson, a supporter of women’s rights, who unenthusiastically handed Affleck his statue.

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Will Smith slap
> Year: 2022

Edgy comedians like Chris Rock sometimes cross a line. Will Smith thought so when the host of last year’s Oscars made a joke about wife Jade Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. She suffers from alopecia, which causes hair loss. As the audience watched in disbelief, Smith stormed on stage and slapped Rock across the face. He later won the Best Actor award for “King Richard,” but was subsequently banned from the ceremony for 10 years.

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