by Andrew Balamaci
Well, it’s that time of year again. The Academy Awards are just around the corner. That means the film buffs / people who watched The Godfather 1-3 and believe themselves to be film buffs will be at their most vulnerable. Some advice: if you have a friend who’s a film nerd and is obsessed with the Oscars, ask him or her to participate in some friendly wagers on the obscure Oscar categories (they can’t guess them all! Aha!) “The Academy” refers to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. While many deem these ceremonies to be an excuse for a washed up comedians like Steve Martin to embarrass themselves on stage for a few hours and handing out awards to foreign people we have never heard of for their excellence in lighting and costumes, The Oscars are actually much more than that… They have a rich history dating back to 1927. In the past 85 years, there have been a lot of weird and humorous events that have transpired around this ceremony, making for a much more interesting Sunday night TV dinner. Let’s take a look back at some of the weirdest moments in Oscars History:
1974 was an eccentric year to say the least. Nixon resigned, John Lennon thought he saw a UFO in New York City, and Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman in The Rumble in the Jungle. Clearly some of that had to spill over into the Oscars…
In 1974, Tatum O’Neal became the youngest person to ever win a competitive Oscar for her role in Paper Moon (she was 10). In this film, she and her father act as regular cons, lying, stealing and cheating their way across the country during the great depression.
More importantly, in 1974, as David Niven was about to announce the nominees for Best Picture, a streaker entered the frame behind him, showing the world everything he had to offer… plus a peace sign. Got to love the hippies. This was at a time in our past when streaking was at an all-time high, and you actually had to be on the lookout for streakers suddenly invading your frame of vision and personal space.
Niven responded quickly, stating: “That was almost bound to happen. Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping down and showing his shortcomings.”
In 1972, The Godfather took home the prize for best picture. Obviously, you gotta throw Marlon Brando that best actor nod. I LITERALLY thought he was Don Corleone. Anyways, he won the Oscar, but… he kind of messed up the post-oscar celebration. Upon announcing Brando’s name, a woman dressed in traditional Native American garments went up to the stage and started to read a letter. The woman introduced herself as Sacheen Littlefeather, and the letter revealed that Brando refused to accept the Oscar because of Hollywood’s misrepresentations of Native Americans. This was surely Littlefeather’s 15 minutes of fame, and it was later found out that she did a spread in Playboy the year before her stunt at the Oscars. After seeing the spread firsthand, there were only three words that came to my mind: “Sacagawea got back.”
This year, there is a chance for history to be made once again: Quvenzhané Wallis, the nine-year old girl who had her breakout performance in this year’s indie hit Beasts of the Southern Wild is up for best actress. With this she became the youngest person to ever be nominated for the best actress Oscar. This was a great nod by the Academy and to tell you the truth, after seeing this film, I wouldn’t doubt her chances of winning.
So let’s tune in on Sunday to watch the Oscars—hey, you never know. You might just find out that America has brought back the art of streaking 😉
Who are your picks for this year’s Oscars? What are some strange moments in Oscar history that you can recall?