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6 Of The Most Unforgettable 21st Century Academy Awards Moments

Stunning gowns and sparkling jewelry, perfectly coiffed hair and sleek suits – it must be the annual Academy Awards. Glamour isn’t the only feature of the Oscars, though. Controversies and surprise moments are common, and more than one good-looking celebrity has gotten egg on their face.

Even though slip-ups dot the Oscars’ 92-year-long history, smartphones and social media have enabled modern audiences to capture and share the less-elegant incidents, cementing them in public memory. So while the 20th century brought about more than its share of Oscar bloopers, the 21st century has almost already caught up, thanks to technology…


2017 | Wrong Film Announced As Best Picture Winner

Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced the film La La Land as the Best Picture winner, when it was actually Moonlight. During his acceptance speech, La La Land’s producer, Jordon Horowitz, looked at the card he was holding and realized the mistake. He then graciously handed the award to the true winner – the cast and crew of Moonlight.

Photo: Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press

2016 | Chris Rock’s Distasteful Asian Joke

As host of the 2016 Oscars, Chris Rock tried and failed to invoke laughter with a bit about Chinese sweatshops. He brought three Asian kids onstage and introduced them as accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers (the agency overseeing the collection of the Academy’s votes). Silence ensued from the audience, which for some reason compelled Rock to keep going, where he added a joke about Asian children making phones. The Academy later issued an apology.

2016 | The #OscarsSoWhite Boycott

In 2016, there was widespread social media anger after the Academy Awards revealed that all the nominees for lead and supporting acting roles were white. After Jada Pinkett Smith put forth the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite on Twitter, fans vowed to boycott watching the show, and some celebrities chose not to attend the ceremony. A variety of influential people – from President Barack Obama to actor Matt Damon – shared their disappointment in the Academy.

Photo: Reuters

2014 | John Travolta Mispronounces Idina Menzel’s Name

John Travolta essentially butchered Frozen star Idina Menzel’s name onstage, introducing her as “Adele Dazeem.” Allegedly, there was a snafu with the phonetic spelling of her name on the cue card that left him frazzled. Ironically, Menzel was tapped to introduce Travolta the following year, where she jokingly announced him as “Glom Gazingo.” Talk about a moment frozen in time.

Photo: J. TERRILL / AP

2006 | Crash Wins Over Brokeback Mountain For Best Picture

It’s considered one of the most shocking moments in awards history: Crash took home the statue for Best Picture, instead of the audience favorite, Brokeback Mountain. Many felt that the 2005 trailblazer film should have been honored; even Crash director Peter Haggis said that he didn’t think his film deserved to win.

Photo: AFP

2003 | Roman Polanski Wins For Best Director Even Though He’s On The Most Wanted List

Roman Polanski, one of Hollywood’s most controversial figures, was honored with the award for Best Director at the 2003 Oscars for The Pianist. Given that Polanski had fled the U.S. in 1977 – after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl – and remains on the United States’ Most Wanted list, he wasn’t able to accept the award. Shucks.