Strange Acceptance Speeches
Cuba Gooding Jr.’s acceptance speech at the 1997 Academy Awards has topped a list naming the most dramatic, outrageous and unexpected moments in Oscar history. Gooding Jr. was so overjoyed to collect his Best Supporting Actor prize for Jerry Maguire that the actor continued to speak even when the orchestra began playing, yelling “I love you!” to a long list of Hollywood stars, while jumping up and down in excitement.
Jack Palance had been nominated for an Oscar twice, both for best supporting actor, for 1952’s Sudden Fear and 1953’s Shane. Four decades later, he finally won the award for the comedy City Slickers, at the age of 72. In the middle of a rather raunchy acceptance speech, Palance decided to drop down to do a series of one-armed push-ups, proving that age is just a number.
Perhaps not so much a strange nor controversial moment, but one that caught everyone by surprise. Robert Benigni’s acceptance speech in 1998 for his performance in Life is Beautiful had everyone talking for weeks. The Italian actor and director couldn’t just walk up on stage like everyone else, instead, he leaped from one seat back to another, climbing over heads and stopping to give Sophia Loren a big hug. The actor who could barely speak English, used up most of his time simply saying “thank you”’ and “this is terrible mistake because I used up all my English . . .”
Michael Moore, whose anti-gun film Bowling for Columbine won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, accepted his Oscar by attacking President Bush amid boos from the star-studded audience.
Director James Cameron proved how much of an egomaniac he was after winning Best Picture for Titanic. After thanking the cast earlier for giving him “pure gold every day”, Cameron noted “this is for a real event that happened when real people died and shocked the world in 1912 and I’d like…to do a few seconds of silence in remembrance of 1500 men, women and children who died.” This was of course followed by him pumping his fist in the air and shouting: “I’m the king of the world!” not to mention following up that moment of silence with “now let’s party ’til dawn!”
After picking up an award for her performance in Girl, Interrupted, Angelina Jolie pretty much confessed to the world that she was in love with her brother.
At the 2010 ceremony, Roger Ross Williams won an Oscar for his short documentary Music by Prudence, only to be interrupted by Elinor Burketts, who ran on stage like a raging drunken maniac, and pulled a Kanye West, taking up the rest of the director’s allotted time on the mic. The back-story is that Williams and Burkett were once filmmaking partners. That didn’t go too well. And it ended even worse. Still not very classy.
Worst Show Ever
The 59th Annual Academy Awards were hosted by three people and none of them worthy of the job — Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, and Paul Hogan. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was yet another strange trio, set to open up the show. Back then, it was tradition to open the show with a musical production number so someone had the bright idea of hiring Telly Savalas, Pat Morita, and Dom DeLuise to start the night with a musical number from Guys and Dolls.