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5 Occurrences The Academy Awards People Wish You’d Forget

When an awards ceremony’s been around for nearly a century, there are bound to be countless iconic moments to recollect. The Oscars is an elegant night filled with critically-acclaimed art, grand looks, and reporters just waiting to judge Billy Porter’s outfit, and we just can’t get enough.

The next Academy Awards season is always right around the corner, so it’s always a good time to reflect on some of the most memorable Oscars moments in history- from actors refusing their awards, to pizza parties being thrown by Ellen Degeneres, to lifelong bans. Here are five happenings that the Academy would prefer to erase from your memory…


Richard Gere Gets Banned From The Academy Awards (1993)

In an era when celebrities are more politically outspoken than ever, it seems strange to think that Richard Gere was banned for speaking out just 27 years ago. The Pretty Woman actor spoke about human rights in China, and his opposition to China’s invasion of Tibet, encouraging the audience to “send love and truth and a kind of sanity to Deng Xiaoping right now in Beijing.”

As you can imagine, his speech wasn’t well received. In fact, it earned Gere a lifetime ban from the Oscars and indirectly resulted in him making more indie flicks rather than big motion pictures. The Academy Awards ban has since been lifted, but Gere continues to speak up regarding his beliefs, which has gotten him banned from China!

Rob Lowe Sings With Snow White (1989)

Rob Lowe is basically a Disney prince these days, but not everyone is a fan. Before he was Chris Traeger on Parks and Recreation, he was an awkward kid who performed a 15-minute, altered performance of the song “Proud Mary” at the 1989 Oscars. Snow White (Eileen Bowman) joined him, and it was so disastrous that they were almost sued by Disney! Don’t mess with the mouse house.

Photo: Carroll

Cher’s Mohawk Dress (1986)

Before Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, there was Cher’s mohawk dress at the 1986 Oscars. While she’s always been theatrical, she quickly got everybody’s attention in all the wrong ways, making plenty of “worst dressed” lists.

Her midriff-baring ensemble was topped off with a huge feathered headpiece, which raised a lot of eyebrows when she presented the award for Best Supporting Actor that year. Say what you will about Cher, but she’s always been fearless with fashion!

Photo: Shutterstock

Protestor Shows Up in His Birthday Suit (1974)

When you’re looking to make a difference, why not go onstage in front of millions of people in your birthday suit? That’s exactly what Robert Opel did as the artist, photographer, and gay rights activist created a scene when he jumped onstage wearing nothing but the peace sign he made with his fingers.

Late actor David Niven, who was co-hosting at the time, handled the situation extremely well. He kept the show going while sharing the stage with the streaker, and made a statement after Opel eventually disappeared. He said, “Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings”?

Two People Win Best Actress (1969) 

Everybody wins! Oscars history was made in more ways than one in 1969. Not only was it the first time the awards show was ever broadcast live, it was also the first time there was a tie in one of the most coveted categories in over three decades.

Barbra Streisand won for her breakout role in Funny Girl, while Katharine Hepburn received the award for The Lion in Winter. They’re both such iconic actresses, so it’s no surprise that if ever there was to be a tie, they’d be the two involved.

As we know, nothing in life is perfect, and this even applies to the most glamorous night in Hollywood. There are many Academy Awards moments that will always be remembered, like Jennifer Lawrence’s iconic fall that ended up defining her media persona, or Heath Ledger’s posthumous award as the Joker. But the moments mentioned above are perhaps better off forgotten (ok, maybe not Cher’s dress!).