17 Emmy, Oscar, and Other Award Show Scandals That Rocked the Industry
Name gaffes, victorious felons, fistfights, sexist gags, controversial kisses, and cameos, oh my! Awards shows, often aired live and starring the world’s richest and most famous players, have seen their fair share of scandals over the years but as they say, the shows must go on.
Hot on their case
At the 2014 Emmys, many feminists, social media users, and critics alike slammed a sight gag featuring Sofia Vergara and the Television Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum. The joke literally placed the super sexy Modern Family star on a slowly revolving pedestal. With her curves on full display, Rosenblum ended his boring speech about the state of TV with what seemed like a justification of the “sex sells” mentality. “What truly matters is that we never forget that our success is based on always giving the viewer something compelling to watch.” Vergara didn’t understand the backlash. She told Entertainment Weekly that she did not see the gag as demeaning. “It’s absolutely the opposite. It means that somebody can be hot and also funny and make fun of herself. Somebody started this who has no sense of humor.” Check out 16 fun facts you might not know about the Emmy Awards.
Best Picture bombshell
February 26, 2017 is an Oscar night that will live in infamy. Former Bonnie and Clyde costars Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were presenting the Best Picture category. Beatty looked confused as he pulled the winner’s name out of the red envelope and tossed it to Dunaway who called out La La Land. The team behind the musical rushed the stage and started gushing, giving thanks, and suggesting that more people vow to make “bold and diverse” work. During the second and third speeches, men in headsets started gathering on stage and inspecting envelopes while the faces of the cast and crew started to change. Producer Justin Horowitz then announced that Moonlight had actually won and held up the correct card. Shock spread throughout the theater, Moonlight folks hesitantly walked up, host Jimmy Kimmel blamed Steve Harvey and suggested everyone get statues, and Beatty returned to the microphone to explain that he wasn’t “trying to be funny.” He had been given a duplicate envelope and card for the Best Actress In A Leading Role winner, which read “Emma Stone, La La Land“—Stone had received the award earlier in the night.
Kanye West is no stranger to controversy, but when he jumped on stage at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and stole the mic from then-19-year-old Taylor Swift’s hands just as she’d started her acceptance speech for Best Female Video, he’d reached peak bad Yeezy. Apparently, he thought his gal pal Beyoncé deserved the award for “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” more than the country-pop singer. “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time,” he said before returning the mic. He was booed and President Obama even labeled it a “jackass” move. And as for Queen B, she invited Swift onstage with her as she accepted the Video Of The Year award later that night. The beef between West and Swift has played on for years as both artists made diss tracks, took to social media, apologized, gave and then retracted forgiveness, and so on.
Host Stephen Colbert invited an unwelcome guest to spice up his opening monologue at the 2017 Emmy Awards. During a joke about making that year’s show the most-watched Emmy telecast ever, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer rolled in behind a replica of his infamous podium just as Melissa McCarthy, who was in the audience a few rows away, does when she portrayed him on Saturday Night Live. Spicer declared, “This is the largest audience to witness the Emmys, period. Both in person and around the world.” The joke referenced a lie Spicer was complicit to about attendance numbers at President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration in January of that year. Hollywood and fans did not seem ready to laugh with “Spicey” and many like Kumail Nanjiani, James Corden, Kal Penn, and Seth Rogen tweeted their disgust that he was given even a moment to redeem himself or look sympathetic. Harry Potter‘s Jason Isaacs posted a photo of the “poisonous purveyor of lies” at the bar at the Netflix party and posted that he has the “aura of a giant festering abscess.”
Can’t we all just get along?
In 2001, the LGBT community was up in arms over the homophobic lyrics penned by Eminem for The Marshall Mathers LP. When he was announced as a performer at the 2001 Grammy Awards, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) protested the decision. In response to the backlash, the rapper was paired with the openly gay Elton John for a rendition of Eminem’s “Stan.” GLAAD picketed outside the arena, but the musicians hugged at the end. Eminem couldn’t let it be though—he flipped the bird at the audience. However, the two have remained friends with Eminem even giving John a cheeky wedding gift.
Who Is Adele Dazeem?
John Travolta had one job to do at the 2014 Oscars: Introduce Frozen singer/actress Idina Menzel’s performance of what would become that evening’s Best Original Song winner. Instead, he bizarrely welcomed Adele Dazeem to the stage. Most assumed he was inebriated while some feared he’d had a stroke. He blamed a frazzled entrance, an unexpected encounter with Goldie Hawn, and a change on the cue cards. Menzel let it go, but not before playfully returning the favor the following year by asking Glom Gazingo to join her on stage and jokingly adding, “It’s not like it’s going to follow me around for the rest of my life or anything.” This slip of the tongue made our list of 12 funniest Oscar moments.
Four’s a crowd
There is strength in numbers when it comes to this still-unfolding scandal. Actress Patrika Darbo’s 2018 Daytime Emmy for the Amazon soap opera The Bay was rescinded after the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences found submission errors in her category (as well as a few other categories). First, the Days Of Our Lives alum spoke out against the Academy and demanded an outside audit. Shortly after, the four daytime soaps on main networks—The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless—banded behind her and sent a joint letter demanding changes in the voting and accounting processes and vowing not to participate in future competitions unless the issues get resolved. The chair of NATAS has requested an outside counsel be brought in for an independent look at the practices in question.
Booing for Columbine
Wherever filmmaker Michael Moore goes, controversy usually follows. (Although in all fairness, he seems to like it that way.) In 2003, he took to the Oscars stage to accept the Best Documentary statue for his anti-gun film Bowling For Columbine and took the opportunity to get something else off his mind. “We live in fictitious times where we have fictitious election results, that elects a fictitious president,” he said of then-President George W. Bush. “We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons.” Surprisingly, Hollywood’s generally liberal elite booed and heckled the director. The abnormal reaction may have been a result of the general “rallying together against a common enemy” vibe as it was not that long after the 9/11 attacks.
Heavy is the crown
As host of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, Steve Harvey had the privilege of announcing that yet another Miss Colombia would be taking the title. Unfortunately for Ariadna Gutierrez, he was wrong. Harvey returned to the stage to correct his error and she had to dip down and let the last year’s winner take the crown off her head and transplant it to a stunned speechless Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach. Harvey told Jimmy Fallon that the “four minutes of hell” were the result of a lagging teleprompter and misunderstood instructions being whispered in his earpiece. “It was the most gut-wrenching walk I’ve ever had in my life,” Harvey said. “I was brought up to face whatever there is, so I went out and dealt with it.” Interested in beauty pageants? See how the Miss America contest has changed over the decades.
Not “frank” enough
Given how long ago this next flub happened, it’s probably safe to say most readers won’t remember this one. When Will Rogers announced who won Best Director at the 1934 Academy Awards, he vaguely blurted out, “Come up and get it, Frank.” Frank Capra, nominated for Lady For A Day made his way for the podium. Unfortunately for him, the award belonged to another Frank (Lloyd) who had directed Cavalcade. When Capra wrote about the mishap in his autobiography, he referred to himself as a “big stupido.” Read on for the 20 most quotable Oscar quotes.